Aberdeen's Department of Archaeology is unique in the United Kingdom in that it focuses explicitly on the lifeways and worldviews of northern cultures, encompassing a region that takes in the North Atlantic, Northern Eurasia, high-latitude North America and the North Pacific. Spanning the sciences, arts and humanities, our research staff apply their expertise in range of laboratory, field, technical, methodological and theoretical approaches to the archaeology of northern peoples, biomes and landscapes.
Popular perception holds that if the 'cradle of civilization' was nurtured in warm southern climes, then the north was little more than a frozen wasteland. Such caricatures, of course, are hard to support when we consider the almost infinite and varied evidence of the human condition in the northern world.
While often living in environments, which could be less than favourable and even hostile, northern peoples were anything but more primitive versions of those farther south. Through complex histories of colonization, local innovation and cultural contact, the northern world developed an astonishing range of prehistoric and historic social and cultural forms; from ancient Siberian populations to the Picts of the Scottish highlands and from the hunter-fisher-gatherers of the North Pacific to the Vikings of Scandinavia.
At a time when the contemporary world is beginning to cast its eyes northward in search of ever diminishing natural resources, Aberdeen is at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of our understanding of northern cultural diversity both in the past and present.
Selected Current Research Projects:
- Isotope Analysis at St. Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen: Diet, Health and Mobility in a Medieval Maritime Society
- Multiplying Lives: Casting Light on the Modern Meanings and Values of Early Medieval Sculpture
- The Bennachie Landscape Project: Community Connections in the North-East of Scotland
- The Northern Picts Project
- The Rising Tide: Investigations into the Submerged Archaeology of Orkney
- Wild Signs: Graffiti and the English Landscape
- Archaeological Field School in Quinhagak, Alaska
- Animal Husbandry in the Intertidal Zone: A Stable Isotope Approach to Changing Subsistence Strategies in the Belgian Coastal Plain
- Colonial Landscapes on the Northwest Coast of North America
- Dietary Change and Maritime Adaptations in Prehistoric North-West Alaska
- European Migrant Landscapes and Intercultural Relations in Western Canada
- Palaeobiogeography and Palaeoecology of late Pleistocene Herbivores of Northern Europe
- Strathearn Environs & Royal Forteviot Project (SERF)
- The Nunivak Island Archaeological Project
- The Viking Way: Religion and War in Late Iron Age Scandinavia
- Vikings Remembered: Late Iron Age Funerary Ritual and the Making of Norse Mythology