New Masters project researching archaeological benefits of roadworks

MRes archaeology student Asta Pavilionyte.

The archaeological benefits of roadwork developments in Scotland is the subject of a new Masters by Research (MRes) project funded by Transport Scotland.

The dualling of the A9 trunk road between Perth to Inverness has been hailed as one of the largest transport investments in Scotland’s history. In common with all major infrastructure projects, Transport Scotland has appointed archaeologists to check for archaeology ahead of the roadworks and where necessary excavate and record it.

As part of Transport Scotland’s Academy9 research programme, Asta Pavilionyte began her MRes in Archaeology, at Inverness College campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands, in October.

She will be evaluating and reviewing archaeological mitigation works undertaken in major road infrastructure projects and identifying the public benefits associated with these projects. The research focus is the A9 dualling project.

Asta’s MRes supervisors are Professor Jane Downes, director of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, Julie Gibson, Orkney’s county archaeologist and Archaeology Institute lecturer, and Dr Monika Maleszka-Ritchie, of Inverness College UHI.

“I decided to apply for this MRes Studentship because I wanted to become a part of challenging research that could help to change archaeological management approaches in current and future infrastructure projects for the better and broaden general public knowledge about archaeology and heritage,” Asta explained.

“I believe that this is a great opportunity to continue the advancement of my skills and it will help me to advance in my future career.”

Before starting the studentship, Asta was a project assistant for Headland Archaeology, one of the biggest commercial archaeology companies in the UK. She was involved in various large-scale infrastructure and commercial projects, investigating archaeological sites across the country.