Historic Scotland Funding for PhD in Archaeological Science


New Funding Initiative by Historic Scotland

The Archaeology Programme supports a range of activities designed to mitigate the destruction of archaeological sites and landscapes through the funding of projects involving survey, excavation, advice, training and education. Such projects either rescue information in the face of unavoidable threats or help us to assess the threat to archaeological sites and landscapes. Projects in receipt of funding in recent years range from the writing up of long-standing unpublished excavations (which received support from HS or its predecessor bodies), to on-going rescue and research of threatened sites and the promotion of understanding about our archaeological heritage.

Historic Scotland is now working with the Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee on the creation of an Archaeology Strategy for Scotland. The new strategy will identify a series of strategic priorities to meet the vision that archaeology plays a key role in our understanding of Scotland’s landscapes, places and identity, enriching and improving the quality of people’s lives.

One of the new strategic priorities is likely to focus on improving skills, recognising that there has been a significant loss of skills in the sector in recent years, as highlighted in the most recent Profiling the Profession 2012-13 survey. Some of the skills losses identified have been targeted through specific learning bursary schemes. Others will require more in-depth training through longer-term post- graduate study. In addition, Historic Scotland is working with the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework to create a Directory of Archaeological Scientists in order to help meet the Vision for Science in Scottish Archaeology.

Currently, there are two PhD research students part-funded by Historic Scotland’s Archaeology Programme together with several post-doctoral researchers. Topics include combining high precision AMS dating and dendrochronology on Scottish crannogs, analysis of human remains from a site in Orkney, and the assessment of material from significant backlog sites including their progress to publication and archiving.

Historic Scotland is delighted to announce that it is able to offer funding or co-funding for research work for one PhD in the field of archaeological science, to commence in the financial year 2015/16.

While funding of a full studentship might be possible, co-funding of a PhD with HEIs or Research Council grants is a preferred option and weight will be given to proposals which include this arrangement. Consideration will also be made to funding of post-doctoral research.

Please note that this funding call (2015-16) will focus on archaeological science. If your proposal is likely to fit within the fully funded PhDs offered through the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium then we would encourage you to apply through the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership route and not through the Archaeology Programme.

Proposals, expressions / fields of interest together with completed bid forms to Rod McCullagh, Deputy Head of Archaeology Strategy (Roderick.McCullagh@scotland.gsi.gov.uk) by 30th September 2014.


Historic Scotland (HS) is an Executive Agency within the Scottish Government charged by the Scottish Ministers with responsibility for safeguarding the historic environment and promoting its understanding and enjoyment. In support of its mission, HS pursues five aims.
These are:
. to care for, protect and enhance the historic environment;
. to secure greater economic benefits from the historic environment;
. to increase public appreciation and enjoyment of the historic environment;
. to achieve continuous improvement in the performance of the agency; and
. to support the other policies of the Scottish Government.
In 2015, Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) will merge to create Historic Environment Scotland (HES), a non-departmental public body. More information on this will be released as it becomes available through the websites of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS.

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