Research Undergraduate

Prestigious dissertation prize awarded to Archaeology Institute BSc graduate

UHI Archaeology Institute BSc graduate Sue Dyke has won a prestigious award for her undergraduate dissertation.
A group of extant shieling remains surveyed. (Sue Dyke)

Congratulations to UHI Archaeology Institute BSc Archaeological Science graduate Sue Dyke, who has won a prestigious award for her undergraduate dissertation.

Dissertation cover

Sue was awarded the 2022 John Evans Masters Dissertation Prize for her work, entitled Escape to the Country: a palynological investigation of shieling activity at Braehour, Caithness, Scottish Highlands.

Her project used fine resolution pollen analysis, supported by archaeological survey and historical documentary evidence to investigate the land-use, economy and environmental impact of postmedieval shielings at Braehour.

The results were the first integrated approach to the study of postmedieval Caithness shielings, and the first Caithness postmedieval focused pollen analysis. The research adds to the limited postmedieval paleoenvironmental record for Caithness and Scotland, and to the small number of integrated Scottish shieling studies.

They provided a new pre-historical land-use record and give a better understanding of the environmental interaction and economy sustained by the Braehour shielings cal AD 1460-1860, including evidence of community resilience during the Little Ice Age.

Sue at work in the lab.
Sue at work in the lab.

The John Evans prize is awarded to the best undergraduate and Masters dissertation, which may be on any aspect of environmental archaeology worldwide.

The winners were announced on Saturday at the annual Association for Environmental Archaeology conference in Glasgow.

Sue’s dissertation was previously awarded the UHI’s Best Undergraduate Archaeology Dissertation Prize and she presented her research at the 2021 Highland Archaeology Festival.