Archaeology Courses

Orkney College Archaeology Evening Class – enrolling now for Sept 2018


The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute are now enrolling for the ‘Archaeology of the Highlands & Islands’ evening class starting in September 2018.

  • Venue: Orkney College, University of the Highlands and Islands, East Road, Kirkwall, Room G4.02
  • Course length: 10 weeks (2 hour sessions)
  • Commences: 26th September 2018
  • Finishes: 12th December 2018
  • Time: 7-9 pm on Wednesday evenings at Orkney College.
  • Classes will be lecture based with case studies and some workshops
  • Course fee: £100

This 10 week course will take students on a tour of the spectacular archaeological remains of the Highlands & Islands region, exploring the sites and landscapes of the past from the Neolithic to post-medieval periods. Additionally, the course introduces the techniques, methods and concepts that archaeologists use to make sense of this rich past, including environmental archaeology.

The teaching involves several members of the UHI Archaeology Institute staff on a weekly basis to afford students the opportunity to hear from specialist expert researchers on the topics covered by each themed-session.

  • Week 1 (Wed 26th Sept) Getting started
    Introduction to the course – Martin Carruthers
    An introduction to archaeology – Martin Carruthers
  • Week 2 (Wed 3rd Oct) The Environment of the Highlands and Islands in the past
    Investigating Landscapes of the Past – Scott Timpany
    Case Study: Holocene Vegetation of Orkney – Scott Timpany
  • Week 3 (Wed 10th Oct) Ceremony and Ritual in the Neolithic
    Living and dying in the Neolithic of Orkney and Scotland – Antonia Thomas
    Case study: Art and architecture in Neolithic Orkney – Antonia Thomas
  • 17th & 24th Oct – no class due to holidays
  • Week 4 (Wed 31st Oct) Understanding the Archaeological Record
    Formation processes and the methods of archaeological investigation – Martin Carruthers
  • Week 5 (Wed 7th Nov) The Bronze Age
    The Bronze Age in the Highlands and Islands – Jane Downes
    Case study: Bronze Age Orkney – Jane Downes
  • Week 6 (Wed 14th Nov) Environmental Archaeology
    Environmental Archaeology – a hands–on introduction to principles and methods – Ingrid Mainland Zooarchaeology workshop – Ingrid Mainland
  • Week 7 (Wed 21st Nov) The Iron Age
    The Iron Age in the Highlands and Islands – James Moore
  • Week 8 (Wed 28th Nov) Viking and Norse
    Viking and Norse in the Highlands and Islands – Siobhan Cooke
    Case study: Mapping Magnus: exploring saintly veneration in Orkney – Sarah Jane Gibbon
  • Week 9 (Wed 5th Dec) Landscape Archaeology
    Studying Archaeological and Historical Landscapes – James Moore
    Case Study: Geophysics in the World Heritage Area, Heart of Neolithic Orkney – Amanda Brend and James Moore
  • Week 10 (Wed 12th Dec) Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology
    Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in the Highlands and Islands – Julie Gibson. Case study: Harbours – Julie Gibson

Background Reading

Key Texts

Edwards, K. and Ralston, I. 2003. Scotland After the Ice Age: Environment, Archaeology and History 8000 BC – AD 1000. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. 2008. Archaeology: Theory, Methods and Practice. Thames & Hudson: London.

Further Reading

Ashmore, P. J. 1996. Neolithic and Bronze Ag Scotland. Batsford: London.

Aston, M. 1985. Interpreting the Landscape: Landscape, Archaeology and Local History London: Routledge

Barclay, G.J 1998. Farmers, Temples and Tombs: Scotland in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (The Making of Scotland Series). Cannongate Books / Historic Scotland: Edinburgh.

Batey, C. E. and Graham Campbell, J. 1998. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.

Hingley, R. 1998. Settlement and Sacrifice: The Later Prehistoric People of Scotland. Canongate/Historic Scotland: Edinburgh

Thompson, W. 2000. The Little General and the Rousay Crofters. John Donald: Edinburgh.

Ritchie, A. 1995 Prehistoric Orkney. Batsford: London.
Wilkinson, K. and Steven, C. 2003. Environmental Archaeology. Approaches, Techniques and Applications. Tempus: Stroud.

The course is not available online and is based at Orkney College in Kirkwall, Orkney. There are 15 places available.

To book a place on the course please ring Paula Williamson on 01856 569203 or e-mail Paula on


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