ScARF Student Bursary Report: Alexandra Fitzpatrick

Association of Environmental Archaeologists Conference 2016, Orkney

As a postgraduate student in the final stages of completing my MSc in Archaeological Sciences, the timing could not have better to have be given the opportunity to attend the Association of Environmental Archaeology Conference in Orkney through the ScARF bursary. I am currently preparing to start on my MSc dissertation research, which concerns challenging the notion of a nearly universal lack of fishing in the Iron Age of Britain by analysing fish bone assemblages excavated from the site of Swandro on Rousay, Orkney, Scotland. It is already daunting enough to begin a dissertation project, but even doubly so when it involves an area of research as relatively niche as archaeoicthyology.

Alexandra Fitzpatrick at the AEA 2016

Thanks to the numerous zooarchaeologists presenting at the AEA conference, as well as the following Professional Zooarchaeology Group meeting that weekend, I finally felt less alone and more confident in my research. At my own university, there are very few people currently doing research in zooarchaeology, and even less so in marine fauna. It was reassuring, then, to hear from other research projects that are focused on material so similar to mine. Being able to see aspects of my own project reflected in current research (for example, seeing so many projects involving isotope analysis being done on fish!) made me feel confident in the direction I was taking my work, and I felt reassured by having the opportunity to speak to so many professionals in my chosen field. I am so thankful to ScARF for giving me the opportunity to make so many connections, get some really helpful advice, and see what the cutting edge research in environmental archaeology is by attending this conference.

Alexandra Fitzpatrick
PhD Candidate
Department of Archaeology
University of Bradford