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Our Summer Field Study program in Orkney, Scotland, UK


Orkney: Gateway to the Atlantic





The Gateway to the Atlantic program takes places on the Orkney Islands north of mainland Scotland, one of the richest archaeological areas in the world. The experience of living and working on the small North Atlantic island of Rousay immerses students in a lovely and complex northern maritime ecology, connects them to a vibrant living community with a deep local heritage, and provides a chance to do real field science as part of an international team of experts from different disciplines. This four week archaeological field school will give students hands on training in the full range of archaeological skills, expertly supervised by some of the best archaeologists in Britain while also offering the opportunity to make a real contribution to saving major heritage sites from rising sea levels caused by global climate change. This program began in 2009 as cooperation between Orkney College, Bradford University and CUNY and has already had several successful seasons of combined field archaeology, community outreach, and transformative undergraduate place-based education.


This summer the Gateway to the Atlantic project is open to CUNY study abroad students looking for a unique experience of participating in an international, multi-disciplinary field science program, aimed at combining hands-on instruction with rescue of major Bronze Age to Viking Period sites endangered by rising sea levels and increasing storminess. Students will work intensively at the endangered coastal site of Swandro, a Celtic Pictish Iron Age stone house with excellent conditions of preservation and rich finds. The site has the potential to shed light on the interaction between the native Celtic Pictish population and the Viking Age Scandinavian settlers of the 9th-10th centuries CE, but is about to be destroyed by the sea. Students from Hunter will work closely with students and staff from the UK and from all over Europe and will have special tours of the many nearby ancient monuments led by Orkney College professionals. Students will become familiar with both basic and advanced techniques of excavation and site recording, including use of electronic survey equipment, 3-D imaging, and geophysical prospecting, and will participate in all phases of this important research project. They will be housed in basic but comfortable hostel housing with meals provided.


For more detailed information on prior work and YouTube video made last summer see the Gateway to the Atlantic web pages.

Website: North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation - NABO Field School

News Link: Orkney Archaeology News - July, 14, 2011


Course Offerings:

  • ANTHC 127 and ANTHC 227
  • Please contact Prof. Tom McGovern (below) to discuss the details of courses offered.
  • 2015 Syllabus - Orkney


Contact Information:


Estimated Costs of Attendance:

Summer 2015 - SCOTLAND COA

Program Fee


$ 2,100.00

$ 1,560.00

Not included in program fee (estimates):



Local Transportation

$ 1,600.00

$ 60.00

$ 170.00

TOTAL: $ 5,490.00



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