LIFTE Ness of Brodgar Postgraduate Research

Three part-funded MRes places available at UHI Archaeology Institute

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute has three part-funded Masters by Research (MRes) studentships available - two for the LIFTE project and one relating to the Ness of Brodgar.

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute has three part-funded Masters by Research (MRes) studentships available – two for the LIFTE project and one relating to the Ness of Brodgar.

A Master’s by Research (MRes) in Archaeology is an intensive one year (full-time) or two year (part-time) research programme. Under the supervision of academic staff, you will devise your own research project, undertake original investigation in your chosen area and direct your own studies.

MRes degrees lead to the submission of a research thesis (35,000 words) which is examined by viva voce. For the MRes in archaeology you are also required to undertake a 20-credit taught module in research skills. The research and study experience is similar to a PhD and while a research Master’s is a postgraduate qualification in its own right, it can prove to be a good precursor for studying at PhD level.

The studentship support will cover the full-time 2021-2 fees at home (UK) rates (£4,500). See https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/studying-at-uhi/first-steps/how-much-will-it-cost/research-postgraduate-tuition-fees/

It is anticipated that the successful applicants will commence their studies in February 2022, and will be based at the UHI Archaeology Institute at Orkney College, Kirkwall, Orkney.

Ness of Brodgar

Cattle and other animals: understanding Neolithic food and farming practices at the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney

The Ness of Brodgar, Stenness, Orkney. (Hugo Anderson-Whymark)

The Ness of Brodgar was at the social and political heart of late Neolithic Orkney, a specialised settlement of monumental buildings that provided a focus for periodic assemblies.

An extensive faunal assemblage has been recovered from this site and is beginning to reveal new insights into commensality and food cultures as well as adaptation of early farming communities to Orkney and other human-animal interactions.

We are offering one part-funded (fees only) Masters by Research to work on selected faunal assemblages from the Ness of Brodgar. It is anticipated that analysis will focus on mammal and avian remains deposited throughout the lives of Structures Ten, Eight and Twelve. The student will be supervised by Ingrid Mainland and Nick Card.

Applicants for this studentship are expected to have a first degree in Archaeology. Prior experience in zooarchaeology is welcomed but not essential as training will be provided.

Looking In From The Edge (LIFTE)

We are offering two part-funded (fees only) Masters by Research as part of a three-year AHRC/DFG funded project, Looking In From The Edge (LIFTE): The impact of international commercialisation on north-west Europe’s peripheral communities 1468-1712: production, commerce and consumption in Orkney and Shetland.

LIFTE Logo

LIFTE is a collaboration between the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, the University of Lincoln and the German Maritime Museum (Bremerhaven) and is focusing on the Northern Isles between the 15th and 18th centuries AD (c.1468–1712).

1. Artefacts of trade in a proto-global world: the impact of imported goods on the society and culture of the Northern Isles

This MRes will study the artefactual evidence for global trade in the Northern Isles to understand the extent of the trade network, and the volume of trade of specific materials, and so allow consideration of the impact of imported goods on people’s material daily life and patterns of consumption.

The study will comprise a synthesis of trade indictors, such as ceramics, glass, coins, and will sit within Mehler’s theoretical framework that material culture profoundly penetrates peoples’ lives.

The student will be supervised by the two LIFTE project PIs Natascha Mehler and Sarah Jane Gibbon. Applicants for this studentship are expected to have a first degree in Archaeology. Prior experience in artefacts analysis is welcomed but not essential as training will be provided.

A dig with a view. Excavations under way at Gunnister, Shetland. (Dan Lee)
A dig with a view. LIFTE excavations under way at Gunnister, Shetland. (Dan Lee)

2. Salting, curing and smoking: approaches to post-medieval food preservation across the North Atlantic World

This MRes will explore historical and other sources of evidence for post-medieval approaches to food preservation across the North Atlantic world and will apply these findings to the analysis of selected zooarchaeological assemblages from Scotland and the Northern Isles with a view to understanding how a trade in perishable foodstuffs (meats and fats) may have been facilitated during this period.

The study will comprise a review of written sources and ethnographic accounts of food preservation techniques together with analysis and interpretation of mammal, fish and avian bone assemblages.

The student will be supervised by the LIFTE project Co-Is Ingrid Mainland and Jen Harland. Applicants for this studentship are expected to have a first degree in Archaeology. Prior experience in zooarchaeology is welcomed but not essential as training will be provided

Natascha Mehler surveying the German Trading site at Gunnister Voe, Northmavine, Shetland used around 1600. (Mark Gardiner)

Application process

Please send a letter of application outlining your interest in the studentship to the named researchers below along with a CV and a 500-word research proposal indicating how you would propose to address the specified topic.

The closing date for applications is October 18, 2021, and interviews will be held in the week beginning October 25.


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