Dr Rebecca Rennell


Rebecca Rennell

Becky is an Early Career Researcher and archaeology lecturer who has been working with Lews Castle College and the UHI Archaeology Institute since 2015. Becky was originally brought into the institute to develop teaching material with the UHI Educational Development Unit, creating a series of innovative virtual field trips that enabled archaeology students to remotely engage with archaeological sites and landscapes across the Highlands and Islands. Following on from this, Becky developed the Digital Heritage and Digital Analysis modules for undergraduate and post-graduate archaeology programmes.

Becky now teaches on a number of postgraduate modules include the Archaeology of the Highlands and Islands, Digital Analysis and Art and Archaeology and on undergraduate modules Prehistory of the Highlands and Islands, Digital Heritage and Archaeology Project. Research interests include digital methods for archaeological analysis, interpretation and presentation, specifically GIS and virtual reality, landscape and island archaeology and Atlantic Scottish prehistory more generally. She supervises postgraduate dissertations on digital humanities and prehistory of the Highlands and Islands.

Becky is based at the LCC learning centre in Benbecula and has lived in Uist since 2007. Although not from the Hebrides originally, Becky first fell in love with archaeology on a trip to Uist in the late 90s - this led to a degree and masters in Archaeology at University College London, with a deliberate focus on all things Hebridean. After a stint in commercial archaeology, Becky returned to academia to complete an AHRC funded PhD at UCL. Her thesis explored the interface between digital methods and landscape archaeology, looking at Later Prehistoric settlement patterns across the Outer Hebrides. This research included extensive survey work across the Outer Hebrides from Barra all the way north to the Butt of Lewis and the creation of a unique database that combined phenomenological ‘data’ with spatial and quantitative information.

In addition to teaching, Becky currently manages the Uist Virtual Archaeology Project – a partnership project between Lews Castle College UHI and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to deliver augmented reality and mixed media exhibitions and apps for key archaeological sites across Uist. The project is funded by the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund, administered by Nature Scotland, National Lottery Heritage and Storas Uibhist. Becky also coordinates Scotland’s Island Research Framework for Archaeology (SIRFA) on behalf of the local authority archaeologists at CnES, Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Amenity Trust. SIRFA is supported by Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers Scotland (ALGAO) and funded by Historic Environment Scotland as part of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy.

Becky has extensive experience of working with community groups on excavation projects and other heritage engagement events in the Outer Hebrides and Orkney. Becky supervised the community excavation project at Sloc Sabahaidh, Baile Sear and at Loch Paible, North Uist with the SCAPE Trust and Access Archaeology. Between 2013 and 2016, she supervised at The Cairns excavation, South Ronaldsay, Orkney with colleagues from UHI. Prior to working with UHI, Becky helped to establish Uist Archaeology, a partnership of archaeologists working across the Outer Hebrides. With Uist Archaeology she has been involved in numerous commercial excavation, evaluation, survey and desk-based assessment projects across the islands as well as working closely with community groups and schools, running workshops, field trips and events.

Select publications:

Rennell, R. 2015. Re-engaging with the Iron Age landscapes of the Outer Hebrides. Journal of the North Atlantic 9(9). 16-24.

Richards, C., Demetri, G., French, C., Nunn, R., Rennell, R. Robertson, M. and Wellerman, L. 2013. Expedient monumentality: Na Dromannan and the high stone circles of Calanais, Lewis. In: Richards, C. (ed.) Building the Great Stone Circles of the North. Windgather Press.

Rennell, R. 2012. Landscape, Experience and GIS: Exploring the Potential for Methodological Dialogue. In: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. Vol 19(4), 510-525.

Rennell, R. 2010. Islands, islets, experience and identity in the Outer Hebridean Iron Age. In: Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures. Vol 4(1) pp. 47-64.

Rennell, R. 2008. Exploring ‘everyday’ places in the Iron Age landscape of the Outer Hebrides. In: Davis, O., Sharples, N. and Waddington, K. (eds.) Changing perspectives on the first millennium BC. Oxford: Obow