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Following in the footsteps of Vikings

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Archaeological dig site in Iceland

Bradford archaeology students dig deep into history

Students from the University of Bradford’s School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences are taking part in an archaeological dig on a 1,000-year-old Viking site in Iceland

The trio of BSc Archaeology placement- year students are stationed at a remote site in the Westfjords peninsula called Hrafnseyri - about a six hour car journey from the country’s capital, Reykjavík

They are working as part of an international team to excavate the remains of a Viking longhouse and other buildings thought to have been built between 900-1100AD. The project is led by Margrét Hrönn Hallmundsdóttir from the Westfjords Natural History Institute

The University has places available on its archaeology courses during Clearing.

The School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences has forged a number of partnerships around the world to enable its students to take part in learning activities, including in Australia, Canada, Jordan, Spain, and with plans to include Egypt next year.

Other cultures

Associate Professor Ben Jennings said: “This kind of experience is invaluable to students. It exposes them to different cultures, different techniques; they will be working with a multi-national team. In addition to working on the site, they also have recovery and relaxation time, so they are able to take in the wider cultural history, go on tours and attend lectures.

“What it means is they come back to their final year of study with a whole range of experience, which they can then use for dissertations or further research and, ultimately, it will benefit them once they are looking for employment.”

He added: “We have been doing archaeology for almost 50 years at Bradford and we have a really strong background in archaeological prospection and practical archaeology, which is well recognised within the commercial field of archaeology, so Bradford graduates are well respected because of the pedigree of the department. Collaborations such as the one with our partners in Iceland help build our reputation as providing graduates with solid skills in archaeology.”

Ben said the Viking site would relate to the early settlement of Iceland and so was of particular significance.

Students at an archaeological dig site in Iceland

University of Bradford students taking part in the Iceland dig are: Cristina Trif, Klaudia Szubart and Brant Taylor. Cristina (left) and Klaudia are pictured at the Icelandic excavation site (above).

Unearthing history

Earlier this year, the University’s archaeology students made national headlines after discovering a Victorian street on campus - the discovery was only made because the usual trip to Orkney could not go ahead because of Covid restrictions.

Last year, experts from Bradford garnered worldwide news after they led the team which discovered the so-called Durrington Pits, a 2km-wide system of pits just outside Stonehenge.

More recently, the University won a contract to use cutting-edge LIDAR (laser scanning) to create a virtual ‘brick-for-brick’ clone of Bradford city centre - known as Virtual Bradford - for Bradford Metropolitan Council.

If you are interested in studying archaeology, the University of Bradford has a number of courses available, including its recently launched Bachelor of Arts degree in Heritage and Archaeology, in addition to its long-running Bachelor of Science offerings.

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