Study Archaeology from Anywhere on the Planet

We are all getting used to a new way of working in the light of the Covid -19 measures. Many of us are working or studying from home and we know that many people are considering continuing their studies to Masters level.

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has in many respects continued business as usual as all of our archaeology courses are taught using elements of online teaching. The MLitt Archaeological Studies is an online postgraduate course that can be undertaken from anywhere in the world – as long as you have internet access and a computer.

The course offers you the opportunity to study archaeology from your own home and gain a postgraduate qualification from the UHI Archaeology Institute based in Orkney. Regular online coffee mornings, seminars and lectures, held over the video conferencing infrastructure available to all UHI students, helps to create a learning community wherever you are located in the world.

There are a wide range of module options which draw on the research specialisms of the UHI Archaeology Institute staff and these provide you with the flexibility to combine taught modules and dissertation research according to your own research interests. You may have an interest in prehistory or in Celtic through to Viking/Norse through to Medieval archaeology. Or you may choose to combine period-based modules with our professional skills modules to gain a broader knowledge and understanding of the methods and theory practiced within archaeology.

UHI Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist Dan Lee talking through a concept with a student at Skaill Farm, Rousay

The choice is yours and you can fit the course into your own lifestyle and study from your own home. However, don’t take my word for it, check out some of our present MLitt students comments….

The quality of the teaching is top-notch and it’s delivered by researchers actively working at the cutting-edge of some of the most exciting archaeological projects in Europe. I’ve really enjoyed the rigor and intensity of the programme and UHI’s experience with distance-learning systems has enabled me to fully participate in everything the course offers even though I’m based in the USA. The knowledge, skills and professional connections I’ve gained at UHI are already benefiting me hugely in my work on climate change and cultural heritage at the Union of Concerned Scientists. It’s a truly unique programme and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Adam Markham, Deputy Director of Climate and Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists, UHI MLitt Archaeological Studies student from Connecticut, USA.

I had no thought of returning to University when visiting Orkney a second time in 2017. I had been more than 10 years before and had learned then of the University of the Highlands and Islands. On reluctantly departing the rich and beautiful Orkney Islands that year, I decided to take the plunge and apply for the MLitt in Archaeology. The lecturers are some of the best in the field and provide a fascinating and broad landscape and timescape in which to explore in Orkney and beyond. The unstructured self-paced Video Conference aspect makes it flexible for my distant life and getting to visit and dig on a world-class excavation the first summer was fantastic! Access and guidance to the literature alone has been worthwhile. This is among the most rewarding experiences of my adult life and I wish it could continue indefinitely.

Don Helfrich, UHI MLitt Archaeological Studies student from New Mexico, USA

If you wish to study here in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland the UHI is also pleased to offer a limited number of places with full tuition fees for Scottish/EU students studying full time on the course in September 2020.

Total station in use at the Ness of Brodgar in 2018

To be eligible for this funding, students must meet the criteria for Scottish or EU fee status and be resident in the Highlands and Islands (including Moray) or Perth and Kinross for the duration of their studies. For details see our website.

I have thoroughly enjoyed studying for the MLitt in Archaeology Practice and would highly recommend the programme to anyone with an interest in furthering their knowledge of past society and its cultures. The distance learning approach adopted by UHI is really interactive and easy access to online lectures and presentations is perfect for anyone already working full time or busy raising a family. The diversity of modules on offer alongside the unfailing support from lecturers and support staff make this high calibre course a very worthwhile venture.”

William Burke, UHI MLitt Archaeological Studies student

To discuss your options contact Dr Ingrid Mainland email ingrid.mainland@uhi.ac.uk phone 01856 569225 or check out the UHI website

Funded Archaeology Masters Places Available

UHI student at Skaill Farm, Rousay

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute is offering a limited number of funded places on the MSc Archaeological Practice and MLitt Archaeological Studies courses.

The Masters programme offers archaeology courses which equip you with the tools for work in the real world. Key practical skills are emphasised using the rich archaeological resource of Orkney as your research ‘laboratory’.

Core modules will develop your practical skills in a suite of archaeological techniques including project management, excavation, non-intrusive field archaeology, environmental archaeology and post-excavation analysis. You will gain additional vocational experience through our professional placement enabling you to take full advantage of employment opportunities.

  • Study in the outstanding archaeological landscape of Orkney
  • Optional modules allow you to develop professional skills in a range of areas including archaeobotany, archaeozoology, geoarchaeology, survey & geophysics,
    digital recording of archaeological materials and sites
  • The MSc programme offers a 3-month professional placement opportunity to further develop your professional skills in a chosen area(s)
  • The course is flexible to fit in with your personal and professional life

A limited number of places with full tuition fee support are available for Scottish-domiciled/EU students, studying full time, on the MSc Archaeological Practice & MLitt Archaeological Studies courses starting in September 2020. Eligible students must live in Highlands and Islands, including Moray, Perth and Kinross for the period of their studies.

Full details on the course, funding and how to apply see our website  or drop us a line at studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk

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Field Archaeology Short Course at The Cairns, Orkney

The Cairns excavation, South Ronaldsay, Orkney

Field Archaeology – A 3 day hands-on field-based short course located at The Cairns, one of Orkney’s leading excavations.

This three day short course in Field Archaeology from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Archaeology Institute aims to provide participants with basic training and understanding of the practices and processes in Field Archaeology.

Located at the on-going excavations at The Cairns broch, South Ronaldsay, Orkney, training will cover excavation techniques, finds identification, the principles of stratigraphy, basic site survey and archaeological recording (drawn, written and photographic record).

The Cairns Broch overlooking the North Sea

In a friendly and supportive atmosphere, the course aims to equip participants with the skills and confidence to engage with other archaeological field projects or lead onto further studies in the discipline. Participants will be trained by professional archaeologists from the UHI Archaeology Institute and will form part of the large team at the excavation site.

  • When? 17-19 June 2020 (3 full days 9:30 – 16:30)
  • Where? The Cairns Broch excavations, Orkney
  • What does it cost? £250.00 per person
  • How do I book? Email Mary Connolly studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk

Recommended equipment: Steel toe boots/wellies, full waterproofs, packed lunch and flask. Toilet facilities are provided. Participants are to meet at the excavation site each day at 9:30. Accommodation, travel and lunch are not included.

Closing date for applications: 29th Feb 2020

Check out the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute webpage here. Places are limited (15 max.) so book now!

Distance Learning ‘Introduction to Archaeology’ Short Course at UHI Archaeology Institute

Landscape of Change: Looking across Eynhallow Sound, Orkney

A new distance learning course by the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute examining the Historic Landscapes of the UK is now enrolling for January 2020.

The course is aimed at people who are interested in the history and archaeology of Scotland and is designed to be an introduction to the fascinating landscape of the British Isles.

Students will not only study how landscapes have changed over time but also investigate an area of landscape in detail and learn how to conduct a Desk Based Assessment (DBA) on an area of landscape of their choice – a key employment skill in archaeology.

The Military Landscape: Abandoned Jetty at Lyness Naval Base, Orkney

The course will be delivered through a series of weekly lectures given on a Monday 11:00 – 13:00 GMT via video conferencing or by attending Orkney College UHI or any of the UHI partner colleges across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Additional support sessions will also be made available through the Virtual Learning Environment.

WeekDateLecture
128/1/20Introduction to Historic Landscapes
24/2/20Study Archaeological & Historical Landscapes
311/2/20The Prehistoric Landscape
418/2/20The Historic Landscape: Agriculture, Enclosure &
Improvement
525/2/20The Landscape of Movement
64/3/20The Maritime Landscape
711/3/20The Development of the Urban Landscape
818/3/20Landscape & Politics: Clearances
925/3/20Finding Religious Landscapes
10 15/4/20The Landscape & Folklore
1122/4/20The Military Landscape
1229/4/20 The Modern Landscape: Heritage & Conservation

In detail…..this introductory module is designed to demonstrate the great complexity of landscapes using a series of case studies from across the British Isles and students will examine how the landscape evolution is influenced by the interplay of historical processes, physical constraints and human social, economic and political factors. The student will develop an historical perspective on the landscape, the people who have inhabited it, and those who continue to do so.

Landscape of Movement…Routes through the Highlands of Scotland

The student will also be encouraged to consider the major forces in operation in the formation of a landscape from prehistory to the present e.g. agricultural practice, afforestation, access and routeways. This module will also address the practicalities of how goods and people (and thus ideas) moved across landscapes, the constraints on those movements imposed by available technology, and the efforts made to overcome those constraints.

The Developing Urban Landscape: Inverness

Other themes to be explored in relation to the landscape including politics, religion and mythology. The student will develop a clearer vision of present-day problems and ongoing trends, and will be set thinking about concepts of “history”, “inheritance” and “heritage” – a topic that runs as a theme through the course.

For more information and to apply please e-mail Dr. Scott Timpany at scott.timpany@uhi.ac.uk

MSc Archaeological Practice @UHI Enrolling Now

View from Rousay over the Skaill Farm dig

The University of the Highlands and Islands MSc Archaeological Practice is a world leading archaeology course which equips you with the tools for work in the real world.

Key practical skills are emphasised using the rich archaeological resource of Orkney as your research ‘laboratory’. Core modules will develop your practical skills in a suite of archaeological techniques including project management, excavation, non-intrusive field archaeology, environmental archaeology and post-excavation analysis.

One of the elements of the programme that students find especially useful is a professional placement in a commercial or academic environment. This provides students with the vital experience of working in the often demanding environment of a large organisation.

Last year Ross Drummond worked in the marketing department at the Archaeology Institute and gained valuable experience in all aspects of public relations and media management including on-site social media reporting and blog writing.

MSc Ross Drummond on location in Rousay, Orkney

The special features of the course that students mention are:

  • Studying in the outstanding archaeological landscape of Orkney….including the Ness of Brodgar, The Cairns and on the island of Rousay (the Egypt of the North)
  • Optional modules allow you to develop professional skills in a
    range of areas including archaeobotany, archaeozoology,
    geoarchaeology, survey & geophysics, digital recording of
    archaeological materials and sites
  • A 3-month professional placement offers the opportunity
    to further develop your professional skills in a chosen area(s)
  • The course is flexible to fit in with your personal and
    professional life
Ross Drummond, Msc Archaeological Practice student, at the Skaill Farm dig on Rousay

Funding

A limited number of places with full tuition fee support are available for Scottish-domiciled/EU students, studying full time, on the MSc Archaeological Practice starting in September. Eligible students must live in Highlands and Islands for the period of their studies. The MSc itself requires that you study in Orkney.

For full funding details see our website.

Apply Now

To discuss your options on our MSc programme either fill out the form below and we will get back to you or give us a ring on 01856 569225 or apply through the UHI website.

Field Archaeology Short Course @ The Cairns, Orkney

The stunning location of The Cairns Broch, South Ronaldsay, Orkney

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute are now enrolling for the popular short course in Field Archaeology to be held at The Cairns Broch excavation – one of Orkney’s leading excavations.

  • When? 19 – 21 June 2019 (3 full days 9:30 – 16:30)
  • What does it cost? £220.00 per person
  • How do I book? Use the form below

This short course in Field Archaeology from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Archaeology Institute, run by a team from our commercial unit Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, aims to provide participants with basic training and understanding of the practices and processes in Field Archaeology. Check out last years site diary to give you a flavour of the exciting discoveries, including a wooden bowl and human hair in the well!

Site Director Martin Carruthers talks about The Cairns Well, excavated in 2018

Located at the on-going excavations at The Cairns broch, South Ronaldsay, Orkney, training will cover:

  • Excavation techniques
  • Finds identification
  • The principles of stratigraphy
  • Basic site survey and
  • Archaeological recording (drawn, written and photographic record).
3Recording in the broch

Recommended equipment: Steel toe boots/wellies, full waterproofs, packed lunch and flask. Please note: Toilet facilities are provided. Participants are to meet at the excavation site each day at 9:30. Accommodation, travel and lunch are not included.

Places are limited (15 max.) so book now by contacting Mary using the form below…..

CPD Art & Archaeology Course Enrolling Now

Preparing stone SF7530 for photography

Art and Archaeology: Context and Practice Module Code: UV408115 (SCQF Level 8)

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute have teamed up with the department of Art and Design at Orkney College UHI to offer a distance learning course for those who wish to explore the creative, practical and vocational aspects of art and archaeology in their own research and practice.

The Art & Archaeology: Context and Practice course has been specially designed to be studied as CPD for those professionals working in the creative and heritage sectors or as an introduction to research in the expanding art & archaeology field.

The course itself explores the history of the relationship between art and archaeology, and through a series of practical assignments students will gain a deepened understanding of not only their own creative practice, but also of the processes of making and craft production in the past and how these are interpreted in the present. 

Drawing Stone SF7530

Course Content

  • Introduction to Art and Archaeology
  • Drawing and photography in archaeology
  • Artists and archaeologists from the Renaissance to now
  • Experiencing and recording landscapes in archaeology
  • Collecting and curating objects and assemblages
  • Materials and making in prehistory 
  • Prehistoric art and mark-making
  • Contemporary archaeology: ‘the archaeology of us’

Course Structure and Delivery

The module takes place over 14 weeks between February and May 2019. Teaching is delivered via a blend of Video Conference seminar sessions, individual and group tutorials, online teaching and resources, and self-directed study. You will document your personal creative enquiry in your reflective journal which will form part of your final assessment, with a final project.

Entry Requirements

Students working at Stromness harbour

At least 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above / 2 A-Levels at grade C or above, or equivalent, and a strong interest in art and archaeology.

Cost

£215 for an accredited Level 11 module for Scottish/EU domiciled students in 2018-2019.  For students from the rest of the UK or outwith the EU,
please contact us for full details of fees and funding

Enrolling now for a February 2019 start! Fill out the form below to register…or find out more.


COMING SOON: the popular Art and Archaeology Summer Workshop will again be held over four days in July/August 2019. The cost will be £250. Check out our social media pages for more information in the New Year.

Two Field Trips in One Day

Martin Carruthers addresses the group of UHI students near the summit of King’s Seat Hillfort

University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology undergraduate and postgraduate students undertake their studies and research from locations across the whole of north Scotland through the use of video conferencing and a virtual learning environment. 

The blended learning approach adopted by UHI also gives students studying archaeology an opportunity to experience work in the field.

Last week, the staff of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute set off to conduct field trips across Scotland in order to give the widest possible number of students experience of outdoor learning.

Students making the descent to Midhowe broch and chambered cairn, Rousay

On Friday 30th November 2018, Dr Scott Timpany together with Martin Carruthers led a group to King’s Seat Fort, Dunkeld in the Highlands of Scotland where, during the summer, a group of UHI Archaeology students were involved in the ongoing excavations at the site. On the same day, and nearly 300 miles north, Professor Jane Downes led an excursion to the ‘Egypt of the North’ island of Rousay, Orkney. The weather was so windy that it was feared that the ferries may be cancelled, but the window of opportunity remained open for a few hours and the teams made it across to collect students from various locations across Scotland.

Students descending the steep hill side from King’s Seat Hillfort

With field booklet in hand, the students from Inverness, Perth, Moray and Argyll Colleges visiting King’s Seat Fort battled their way through the woods surrounding the hilltop site. The weather miraculously cleared to a cold, blue sky day, to allow Martin, Scott and the UHI students who were involved in the excavations at the hillfort to explain the site, the archaeology and the landscape.

Examining the well at the King’s Seat site

King’s Seat Hillfort has been the subject of archaeological investigations by Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust, Dunkeld and Birnam Historical Society, archaeologists from AOC Archaeology and UHI and, according to the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust website, little was known about the site until King’s Seat Archaeology Project started their excavation. Their website continues….”Fragments of crucible, stone and clay moulds used for smelting and casting metal objects were identified suggesting that the site was important in the production of pretige metalwork and may even have been a centre of production in the early historic/Pictish period (c.600-900AD)” The full report can be accessed via the project website.

Approaching Rousay on the ferry.

As the team from the south were scaling the heights of King’s Seat Hillfort, the Orkney contingent approached the Island of Rousay as the clouds gathered ominously above the ferry.

Inside the Midhowe Chambered Cairn building – Professor Jane Downes explains the form and function of the tomb to the students

Driving along the deserted single track road that serves the island, the team soon arrived at the impressive Midhowe Chambered tomb which has been protected from the elements by a huge hangar like building. Once inside, the whole amazing prehistoric structure can be viewed from above from a series of walkways. Back outside in the gathering storm the intrepid group examined the Midhowe Broch which is located literally on the edge of Eynhallollow Sound. Here, Jane explained how such sites can be used as an indicator of how climate change affects coastally eroding archaeology sites and the research being carried out jointly with ICOMOS Climate Change & Heritage Working Group.

Midhowe Broch

The day was concluded with a visit to Taversöe Tuick , Blackhammer and Knowe of Yarso Chambered Cairns while 300 miles south,the students and staff concluded their day in Dunkeld at the local pub for well earned refreshments.

If you would like to explore the possibility of studying and contributing to the research undertaken at the UHI Archaeology Institute at undergraduate or postgraduate level then please either e-mail us at studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk or see our website.

Thanks to Kevin Kerr for photographs of Rousay.

Art & Archaeology Courses @UHI enrolling now

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Love Art? Love Archaeology? Why not study both and get an accredited undergraduate or masters-level module at the same time!

Art and Archaeology courses ENROLLING NOW for January 2019 start!

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, and the Art & Design Department, at Orkney College UHI are pleased to announce that enrolments are now open for the 2019 Art and Archaeology modules. These are available at both undergraduate or postgraduate level and can be studied either as elective modules as part of a UHI degree or masters course, or as standalone modules for Continuing Professional Development.

Both modules provide students from a range of backgrounds with a deepened understanding of the creative, practical and vocational aspects of art and archaeology and provide the transferable skills which are currently in demand in the cultural industries and heritage sector. Either module can be taken as a distance learning student, from either a UHI learning centre, or from your home anywhere in the world*.

plaster casting during workshop

New for 2019!! Art and Archaeology: Context and Practice (Level 8 / undergraduate)
This new undergraduate level 20-credit course is suitable for students who have at least 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above / 2 A-Levels at grade C or above, or equivalent, and a strong interest in art and archaeology. This module allows students to explore the creative, practical and vocational aspects of art and archaeology in their own research and practice.

You will learn about the history of the relationship between art and archaeology, and through a series of practical assignments you will gain a deepened understanding of not only your own creative practice, but also of the processes of making and craft production in the past and how these are interpreted in the present.

Over the 14 weeks of study between January and May 2019, you will develop a portfolio of work which will lead to your final assessed project.

*International validation for the Level 8 module is awaiting confirmation

12. Drawing SF7530 (photo copyright Antonia Thomas)

Art and Archaeology: Contemporary Theory and Practice (Level 11 / postgraduate)
This 20-credit masters level course will appeal to students from a wide range of backgrounds including fine art, design and applied arts, archaeology, heritage studies, galleries and museums, and anthropology.

It provides an advanced understanding of the new interdisciplinary area of Contemporary Art and Archaeology, through discussions, seminars, and lectures on current and historical contexts and case studies. The module takes place in Semester 2 over 14 weeks (January – May 2019). Teaching is delivered via a blend of Video Conference seminar sessions, tutorials, Online teaching and resources, and self-directed study. You will document your personal creative enquiry through a reflective journal, which will form part of your final assessment, along with a research project and presentation.

13. Preparing SF7530 for photography (photo copyright Antonia Thomas)

We will research and explore Contemporary Art and Archaeology as a group, and together we will develop new thinking and understanding in this exciting area. There is an optional 4-day residential workshop in Orkney which runs at the start of this module; this is not compulsory but is strongly recommended (no additional teaching cost but students are required to fund their own travel and accommodation).

Student comments…………

“A great course, thank you! It has kick-started my art practice after a long break and introduced me to the world of archaeology. I would recommend this course.”

“A fantastic course overall, taught by tutors really engaged in their field. It has had a positive impact on my own practice and I would recommend it to anyone interested in these subjects. I felt that I was genuinely learning something new and it made me look at both art and archaeology from a fresh perspective.”

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Module fees for 2018-2019**
Accredited Level 11 module: £560
Accredited Level 8 module: £215

**Scottish / EU domiciled students only; please contact us for details of fees for students from the rest of the UK or outwith the EU

To apply or for more details about course content and entry requirements, please email studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk

Environmental Archaeology Workshops – Enrol Now

Palaeo Poster V1.aiJoin Dr Scott Timpany from the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute to learn about Environmental Archaeology.

Workshops are to be held at Orkney College UHI on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November 2018. Join us to study the hidden world of Kirkwall through the microscope….following up on the results of the Kirkwall Town Heritage Initiative excavations in 2016.

  • Saturday 10th November – Introduction to Pollen
  • Sunday 11th November – Introduction to plants and insects
  • Venue: Orkney College Lab 2
  • Time: 10am – 3pm both days.

No previous experience is required and you are welcome to come to both workshops or single days.

There is no charge to take part, but booking is essential. Contact Kat Fryer enquiries.orca@uhi.ac.uk or telephone 01856 569345