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Archaeology of the Isle of Skye, with Steven Birch

START: 08 April 2024
END: 12 April 2024
COST: £290

This course will be taught in English.

The island of Skye contains extensive evidence for prehistoric and historic period settlement, with survey and excavation identifying a significant number of sites and monuments. The archaeological record of Skye is particularly rich and provides a wealth of information relating to the use of the landscape covering some 10,000 years, from the earliest hunter-gather-fishers after the last Ice Age, to the extensive settlement of the landscape leading up to, and after, the Highland Clearances during the later 18th and early 19th centuries.

This course will provide an overview of the diverse archaeological landscapes of Skye with information derived from early antiquarian investigations, through to the more recent and current research, including commercial, developer-led projects across the island. The course will appeal to anyone with an interest in the archaeology and history of Skye and will be built around tutorial presentations and discussions, including the use of historic and current maps, place-name evidence, and other forms of desk-based assessment including the use of the National Record of the Historic Environment and the Highland Historic Environment Record. The course will also offer field trips to visit a number of archaeological sites and landscapes on the island, with a hands-on approach to enable participants to identify different types of sites and features.

Please note that this course includes an element of walking over rough ground and therefore a reasonable level of fitness will be required. Stout footwear and clothing suitable for all weathers will be necessary.

About Steven Birch
Steven is Director of West Coast Archaeological Services (established in 1998) and is an archaeological contractor providing services to a wide variety of public sectors including construction, engineering, utilities, and forestry, as well as private individuals and community groups throughout the Highlands & Islands. He also provides consultancy services, which includes desk-based assessments, environmental impact assessments, and research for heritage projects.

Steven graduated with an MA in Scottish Archaeology from the University of Aberdeen in 2005 and posts have included being a member of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (2006 to 2008) and the Scottish Archaeological Research Frameworks (ScARF), sitting on the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Panel (2009 to 2010).

He has broad research interests in British Archaeology of all periods, but with a keen interest in the prehistory of Scotland, including research into the earliest settlers and the use of caves and rockshelters. Steven is an experienced archaeological excavator, having assisted or supervised on a wide range of projects across Scotland. Major research-based projects and excavations include High Pasture Cave and its environs, the Fiskavaig Rock Shelter (both on Skye); and the Cromarty Medieval Burgh Community Archaeology Project and the Rosemarkie Caves Project (both on the Black Isle). Major developer-led archaeological projects on the island of Skye include Home Farm, Portree, and the Broadford Medical Centre in Broadford. He has also been involved on a wide range of landscape/walkover surveys on the Isle of Skye recording archaeological sites and features of prehistoric and historic date.

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