The Orkney Gateway to the Atlantic project was the subject of a presentation by Dr Ingrid Mainland, of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, on Monday as part of the inaugural assembly of the BRIDGES UNESCO Sustainability Science Coalition.
The BRIDGES initiative aims to integrate humanities, social science, and local and traditional knowledge perspectives into research, education and action for global sustainability.
Endorsed by BRIDGES, the Gateway to the Atlantic project is a joint research initiative involving the UHI Archaeology Institute and the University of Bradford.
It is investigating sustainability and reliance strategies, in particular how people in the past reacted to climatic and environmental change – from the first farmers over 5,000 years ago through to the clearances in the 19th century.
Orkney’s northerly position means the islands have shorter growing seasons and a degree of marginality – offering an opportunity to study the long-term effects of climate change and how people survived and adapted. The long timeframe also allows for the study of cultural changes as a result of contact and trade.
This research initiative is linked to a wider research agenda investigating these themes across the North Atlantic by researchers within the North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation (NABO).