Research students


 Researchers in the field

The Archaeology Institute has built a world-renowned reputation for excellence through its postgraduate research programme in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The five core themes are:

  • Scottish Archaeology
  • Monuments, Artefacts and Cultural Identity
  • Landscape and Environment
  • World Heritage Management
  • Archaeology and Sustainability

PhD Research Students

Jasmijn Sybenga is in her final year of her PhD entitled: Seeing the Wood for the Trees. A Palaeological approach into the research of past natural woodland in the Scottish Highlands. Jasmijn’s research is funded by a Forestry Commission Scotland Funded Studentship and UHI.

Magdalena Blanz is in her final year of her PhD researching: Seaweed as Food and Fodder in the North Atlantic Islands: past, present and future opportunities. Magdalena’s research is funded through a European Structural & Investment Fund (ESIF) studentship.

Martha Johnson has just completed her PhD research into the Ness of Brodgar. Her research is entitled: The Rocks that Don’t Belong: Macro Petrologic Analysis of Rock Recovered from the Ness of Brodgar Excavations.

Darroch Bratt is in his second year and is researching: The Origins and History of Distilling and Whisky Production in the Scottish Highlands and Islands: an historical and archaeological approach. Darroch's research is funded through a European Structural & Investment Fund (ESIF) studentship.

Anna Estaroth has recently joined the PhD team and is researching the role of dark and light skies during the late Neolithic in Orkney and Shetland. Her supervisors are Professors Colin Richards and Jane Downes and Dr. Fabio Silva (Bournemouth University). This is a skyscape analysis of habitation, burial cairn and ceremonial structures.

Amber Rivers is in the first year of her PhD: Weaving Time: Researching the prehistoric heritage of woollen textile production in Scotland through archaeological and creative practice. Amber's research is funded by an AHRC Applied Research Collaborative Studentship (ARCS). Amber's supervisors are Professor Jane Downes and Dr. Ingrid Mainland of UHI Archaeology Institute, Anne Bevan of UHI Orkney College Art Department, Dr. Sara Keith of Heriot-Watt University-School of Textile and Design and Gail Drinkall curator of Orkney Museum. 

Neil Ackerman is in his first year of his PhD researching Scotland’s earliest built environment: halls, houses and big houses – funded by The Carnegie Trust

Steve Worth is researching Sustainability upon the Margins:  An Historic-Archaeological Investigation into Small Farms Established in the Grampian Region during the Agricultural Improvements of the 18th and 19th Centuries for his PhD. Steve's research is funded by The Carnegie Trust.

Jane Thomas is jointly researching Salmon consumption, commerce and custom: historical and archaeological evidence for the social, cultural and economic position of salmon in the Scottish Highlands c. 1400-1800. This research is jointly supervised by Dr Jen Harland and Dr David Worthington, UHI Centre for History. Janes research is funded through a European Structural & Investment Fund (ESIF) studentship

Sandra Henry is researching Prehistoric Seafaring in Scotland and Ireland

MLitt by Research Students

Claire Mackay is researching Marine Mammal Exploitation in Late Iron Age and Medieval Orkney.

Crane Begg is researching Visualisation of the Historic Landscape of the National Scenic Area and World Heritage Area of Orkney utilising LiDAR-derived Surface Modelling and Multi-Spectrum Aerial Photography.

Kevin Kerr is researching Destruction as Foundation: An Archaeological Analysis of the Construction and Decommissioning of Monumental Iron Age Buildings in Orkney


If you wish to join our research team then e-mail us at