UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Summer: Scotland: Archaeology in the Western Isles (ANTH)

Benbecula, United Kingdom
Isle of Lewis, United Kingdom
North Uist, United Kingdom
Terms offered: 
Program Type: 
Credit Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
Language of Instruction: 


This course is the beginning season of a long-term project that aims to investigate the impacts of Norse colonization of the Outer Hebrides in the early medieval period. In the 2020 field season the project will focus on archaeological survey work and some small-scale midden excavations. This first season will also be concentrating on creating collaborations with the local archaeological, heritage, and school community groups. Students will participate in all aspects of the field season. They will engage in various types of survey and excavation projects. They will work closely with members of the local community to help align our research agenda with the desires of the different stakeholders on the Uists, Benbecula and Lewis. Once in the Hebrides we will be working closely with the University of the Highlands and Islands, the local Museum and the local Archaeology Community Group. Students will work with members of each of these groups in the field as well as in more informal contexts. Transportation will be by vehicles and possibly by boat.

You must be in good academic and judicial standing and you must not have any registration blocks to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

All UMD and non-UMD freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students are eligible to apply. 

If you are interested in this program but do not meet the eligibility requirements, reach out to the Program Leader (listed in the Contacts tab) to discuss your interest in the program.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in the following six (6) credit UMD course:

  • ANTH496: Field Methods in Archaeology
  • ANTH696: Field Methods in Archaeology

The credit you earn during this program will count as resident credit. This course also fulfills the fieldwork requirement for the Archaeology minor. 

Students will complete online readings before departure in order to have a good conceptual basis before engaging in fieldwork. These readings will focus on the archaeology of the Hebrides and on Archaeological field methods. There will also be three pre-departure meetings (in person or via video-conferencing) where the project will be presented in much more detail and questions can be asked. 

Students will be staying at the Nunton House Hostel on Benbecula. This Hostel is part of the former 18th century home of the Clan Chief of the MacDonald's of Clan Ranald; where Bonnie Prince Charlie dressed as Betty Burke, Flora MacDonald's maid, before escaping over the sea to Skye. The Hostel has four rooms with four bunks and en suite bathrooms. There is a good sized kitchen where we will cook and share meals communally. There is a common room with a huge 18th century fireplace and outdoor storage for our gear.

Please refer to the following resources for funding study abroad:

Financial Aid
Financial Policies

Costs are current for Summer 2020.
**Please note this program qualifies for eligible Pell Grant recipients to apply for the Gilman International Scholarship. The application deadline is March 3, 2020, 11:59 pm PT.

This is a non-refundable fee to submit an application.
Education Abroad Fee
This is a non-refundable fee charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted to "Committed." This includes services provided by Education Abroad such as registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance
This coverage is required and complements students' regular U.S. primary health insurance coverage.
Housing Fee
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
These are the instructional costs which include tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
This fee is charged to your student account and is based on our program deadlines. Please direct any additional questions to the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering.
Meals (estimate)
Roundtrip airfare (estimate)
Course materials
Optional activities/incidental expenses
Optional trip cancelation/interruption insurance

*Non-UMD graduate students will need to pay a $75 application fee to the UMD Graduate School to participate in this program.


PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancellation due to low enrollment.

Dr. George Hambrecht is an Assistant Professor of Archaeology in the Anthropology Department at the University of Maryland College Park, USA. His research focuses on the zooarchaeology of the Norse North Atlantic with a focus on changing terrestrial and marine ecosystems and human settlement through to the early modern period. He has been an active member of the NABO cooperative for the last 15 years and has worked on field sites in Iceland, Norway, the US and the Caribbean. His newest project is in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland where he hopes to enlarge the geographic scope of his work on the last millennium of human interaction with the North Atlantic.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Leader. For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs.

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following activities:

  • Excursions to a variety of sites spanning from the Megalithic to the Medieval such as the stone circle sites of Callanish on Lewis and Pobull Fhinn on North Uist, the early medieval church of Howmore on South Uist and the late Iron Age Broch of Dun Valan.
  • Beach walks and informal survey of numerous eroding heritage sites on the coasts of Benbecula and the Uists.
  • Excursions to the islands of Barra, the southernmost of the Outer Hebrides, and Lewis and Harris to the north. Each of these will be day trips involving  boats.
  • Cultural excursions in collaboration with the local Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre. These will focus on contemporary Gaelic culture on the Western Isles.
  • A traditional ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) at the end of the program in collaboration with the local community. This is a traditional gaelic party featuring good food, music and dancing.
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Summerterm 2020 03/01/2020 03/11/2020 05/29/2020 06/23/2020