ScARF Student Bursary Report: Tom Gardner

Association of Environmental Archaeologists Conference 2016, Orkney

I began my PhD evaluating the geoarchaeology of burnt mound sites across north-western Europe in September 2015, based at the University of Edinburgh. Essentially this project aims to evaluate the sediments and microstratigraphic profile of burnt mound deposits under the microscope, using a combination of thin section micromorphology and phytolith analysis. As a study with a broad geographical scope across the British Isles and Scandinavia, and a broad chronological span across the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, it has become important for me to visit numerous different locations across Europe, and meet various spheres of people.

Tom presenting his poster at the AEA, April 2016

This need for a wide-ranging series of contacts made my bursary from the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland to attend the Association of Environmental Archaeologists (AEA) spring meeting in Orkney very valuable. Being able to show-case the first results of my research to a collection of the most accomplished environmental archaeologists from across Europe has allowed me to gather important feedback, make key connections and friendships, and take part in an event which exhibited some of the most advanced and integrated research currently being conducted. This conference attendance, and the poster which I presented at AEA, have fitted into a wider scheme of my research and professional development, which has also involved presenting at several major international conferences, seminars, and workshops, teaching, excavation across the British Isles, and laboratory work. I am currently preparing three articles for publication, one based primarily upon the material which I presented at AEA focussing upon the phytolith record from a series of burnt mounds in Northumberland.

Having been a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland since 2015, I feel that I have become very well supported by my peers within Scottish archaeology. This allows me to pursue my research in the confidence that I will always be able to receive feedback and constructive criticism from the wider archaeological community, and have a platform to exhibit my work and interests. This is manifested well through the bursaries offered to new and emerging researchers by the Society, and the new student Fellowships. I feel that this bodes well for the future of archaeological research in Scotland!

Tom Gardner
Carnegie Trust PhD Candidate
Department of Archaeology
University of Edinburgh