Hello, I’m Ellie, I’m an archaeologist, and I’m thrilled to be starting at the University of Aberdeen in October 2020 with QUADRAT, where I’ll be researching the impacts of climate-driven coastal change on Scotland’s rich archaeological heritage. Recent developments in remote sensing and drone-based technology offer exciting opportunities for large-scale landscape survey, and I’ll be deploying some of these techniques to map eroding sites and track coastal change with the aim of understanding and mitigating the effects of erosion, developing methods to help the sector address the threat, and ultimately hopefully improve management of our coastal archaeology.

Having been fascinated by archaeology for about as long as I can remember, I’ve worked in the field for nearly 15 years. After graduating with a degree in Egyptology and Ancient History I was lucky when volunteering with the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust (http://www.ggat.org.uk/) in South Wales led to a graduate placement, and then to a permanent position. This role encompassed almost all aspects of the profession, including commercial excavation, large-scale research-led landscape surveys, public archaeology projects and heritage management. At the same time, I completed a part time MA in Archaeology with the University of Birmingham. Because I started out as a volunteer, I’m passionate about community engagement, and sharing my enthusiasm for archaeology with the public – so I ran GGAT’s Arfordir project (‘coastline’ in Welsh; http://www.ggat.org.uk/arfordir/) which worked with and trained local communities to record and monitor archaeological sites in the coastal zone. Building on this, I moved to the University of St Andrews in 2012, working with the SCAPE Trust (https://scapetrust.org/) undertaking research on Scotland’s coastal archaeology. SCAPE’s focus is on heritage which is being affected by coastal processes and how climate change may impact this, while public engagement is central to our work. Eight years with SCAPE have involved travelling to beautiful coastal landscapes, investigating fascinating but fragile sites and working with local communities to gather data and track changes at our coastline, as well as flying drones to get an aerial view of sites which are archives of information about our past but which are literally falling into the sea. All of this has underlined the urgency of the threat our heritage is facing – and that’s why QUADRAT is such an exciting opportunity to contribute to develop strategies to help the sector mitigate the impacts of climate change and improve our understanding and management of Scotland’s coastal archaeological resource.

Drone image of an eroding site in Shetland