REU Site: The North Orkney, Scotland, Population History Project

Project: Research project

Project Details


This REU Site aims to reconstruct and analyze changes in demography, settlement, and landscape use on the islands of Westray and Papay (Orkney, Scotland) over the past 300 years or so. This period begins with a traditional, low intensity form of agriculture combined with fishing, passes through various economic and environmental shocks (the kelp-making boom and bust, the collapse of fisheries, the intensification of agriculture), and culminates in the current regime of depopulation and population aging. The project will analyze the response of families and households to these changes using an innovative combination of approaches from historical demography, ethnology, settlement archaeology, and landscape history. Every summer eight undergraduates will spend eight weeks on Westray and Papay for training and fieldwork. They will be involved in all phases of the project, including archaeological field survey, analysis of old vital registers and censuses, mapping and documenting abandoned farm structures, and interviews with living informants. This award contributes to the Foundation's continuing efforts to attract talented students into careers in science through active undergraduate research experiences.

Effective start/end date2/1/041/31/07


  • National Science Foundation: $191,775.00
  • National Science Foundation: $191,775.00


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