Vacation scholarships enable students to develop their research skills through a summer project.
Sara has just entered the final year of her BA (hons) Archaeology degree and her project, Fuel for the Dead, investigated the type of wood used in Bronze Age cremations at Love Lodge Farm, Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Twelve charcoal samples were selected for analysis — all from the Bronze Age cremation pits and burials excavated on site. Where possible, wood fragments were identified to species allowing Sara to build up a profile of the timber types used in cremations.
The curvature of the growth rings suggested that most of the fuel used in the pyres was made up of tree branches. Alder, which is not commonly found associated with cremations, was the most common wood used at Love Lodge. In addition, most of the cremations featured a dominant wood-type along with smaller amounts of other timber – perhaps suggesting that different tree types had different ceremonial associations.
Sara is the third UHI Archaeology Institute Student to benefit from a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship, following Paul Jack (Iron Age Furnaces: a data driven experimental approach to understanding the experience of metalworking in prehistory) and Gary Lloyd (An assessment of stone Neolithic spatulate tools from the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney).
For more information on the Carnegie Vacation Scholarship scheme see https://www.carnegie-trust.org/award-schemes/vacation-scholarships/