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About us

Our Mission

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute is a world-class teaching and research organisation dedicated to advancing our understanding of the historic environment through the creation, interpretation and dissemination of archaeological knowledge.

The Institute provides a locus for innovative research, university education and lifelong learning in outstanding heritage environments. We support local, regional and global communities to explore and promote their heritage and development through our expertise in consultancy and research. Our forward thinking and interdisciplinary approaches to archaeological and heritage research, and our worldwide links and collaborations, create in the UHI Archaeology Institute a vibrant international centre of excellence.

The Institute

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute is centred on the Orkney Mainland, but also has research and teaching staff in both Shetland and the Western Isles.

The Institute is unique within Scotland, in that it combines teaching, academic research, and commercial applied research and consultancy. The commercial arm of the institute, ORCA and ORCA Marine, provide professional archaeological and heritage services to Northern Scotland - providing everything from archaeological excavations and evaluations, through to heritage consultancy services, marine archaeological investigations and geophysical survey. This unique partnership sees the Institute’s academic staff working alongside the ORCA and ORCA Marine staff with regards to teaching and research, providing our students with an unparalleled experience of practical and applied archaeology, as well as facilitating world class archaeological research in both Northern Scotland and the wider world.

The Highlands and Islands has particularly rich and diverse archaeological heritage - from Neolithic stone-built settlements, tombs and stone circles, to Iron Age brochs, Pictish and Viking settlements and burials, historical archaeology such as the clearances to remains from the First and Second World Wars - situated in landscapes which are distinctive and often fragile.

However, although the Institute carries out internationally significant research within the Highlands and Islands region, we also work much farther afield – with current research projects ongoing in Easter Island, Nepal and Tanzania.