A future in the past! All set for University Archaeology Day

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute is among the organisations represented at the 20th University Archaeology Day tomorrow, Thursday, October 22.

Explore the possibilities for a future in the past! An archaeology degree can open doors to all kinds of careers, and at the University Archaeology Day you can find out everything you need to know about studying this exciting subject.

The online event is designed for prospective students, teachers and parents to learn about the degree programmes on offer across the UK, to discover the range of career opportunities that an archaeology degree can lead to, and to hear about some of the latest archaeological research.

Most of the country’s top archaeology departments will be represented, along with a range of organisations that promote the subject and employ archaeology graduates. There will also be a full programme of talks and activities covering application tips, careers advice, and a wide range of archaeological topics including some of the latest finds and cutting-edge research.

Archaeology is a very broad subject that combines arts, humanities and sciences and is great for developing a mixture of academic and practical skills. Come to the University Archaeology Day to find out what an archaeology degree can do for you!

For more details of studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, click here.

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


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.

128/1/20Introduction to Historic Landscapes
24/2/20Study Archaeological & Historical Landscapes
311/2/20The Prehistoric Landscape
418/2/20The Historic Landscape: Agriculture, Enclosure &
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