Core Research Theme: Archaeology of the North

Core Research Theme: Archaeology of the North

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: