Kildavie Field school 

*The Kildavie field school will not be running in 2024, please check back for details of future plans, or join the Mailing List*

We will provide an update for future seasons at Kildavie as soon as possible, and they will follow a similar fashion to the details laid out below for the postponed 2020 season. If you would like to contact us or stay in touch with project updates please do so via email. We hope everyone can stay safe and healthy, and look forward to seeing you all on the other side of this.


Previous investigations at Kildavie have identified at least sixteen structures at the settlement, ranging from domestic dwellings to possible sites of cottage industry. Our project aims to investigate the origins of the site, and to determine the function/use of the buildings, as well as to investigate the area surrounding the settlement. Investigations in 2014 to 2019 identified a number of post abandonment usage of two of the structures as well as finding solid dating evidence for inhabitation during the mid 1700’s. A series of test pits across the site have also hinted at much earlier occupation in the area with the retrieval of some flint artefacts. A nearby structure has been identified in 2018, which may date back to the Bronze Age.

The site has been investigated by the Mull Archaeological Interest Group for the past few years, with extensive survey and limited excavation.

Investigations at Kildavie will be continuing in 2020 and full details on the project including dates and costs are available below.  

Contextualising Kildavie, 2020 Survey Field School, Isle of Mull, Scotland

HARP will be running a Field School on the Isle of Mull in August and September 2020.  The Field School will be continuing on from previous work on the site, ongoing since 2014, and will consist of 2 weeks intensive field survey in the landscape surrounding the abandoned settlement of Kildavie, and a Bronze Age ring cairn. The settlement was inhabited until the 18th Century before being abandoned, with many villagers leaving Scotland for North America, and the surrounding area is rich in cultural heritage, with evidence of Bronze Age and Iron Age occupation visible from the abandoned settlement.

There are 15 places are available for this Field School


Full training will be provided in:

Field Survey

Over the course of the two weeks we will be conducting an intensive field survey in the lands surrounding the Kildavie settlement in order to identify and record all of the archaeological sites in the area. All participants will learn how to identify, survey, and record archaeological sites from a variety of time periods to a professional archaeological standard. Participants in the field school will also learn about the history of Kildavie, along with being taught how to carry out desk-based and historical research into the site and its inhabitants.  This will be followed by training in GIS and map production, where we will generate a site distribution map in order to document all of the archaeological sites identified in the area. 

Artefact Processing

During the field school we will be processing and recording all of the artefacts recovered from six seasons of excavation at the Post-Medieval township, and two seasons of excavation at the Bronze Age Ring Cairn, with artefacts including pottery, glass, metal, and bone. Participants will learn how to handle, record, process, store, and photograph archaeological artefacts.


The site is located within the North West Mull Community Woodland of Langamull, only a stones throw away from the coast.  The idyllic setting on Mull is a great opportunity for participants to experience island life in the Scottish countryside, as well as having the opportunity to survey an as yet little understood archaeological landscape.

Visiting Mull

As one of the largest of Scotland’s many islands, Mull provides an opportunity to visit some of the most spectacular natural heritage in the country, alongside a number of historically important sites in Scotland. Mull is regarded as the premier wildlife destination in Scotland, and is home to nesting Sea Eagles, Otters, and seals, and is visited by Basking Sharks and Humpbacked Whales. Nearby Staffa is a stunning outcrop of volcanic rock that is home to one of the most accessible and friendly Puffin colonies in the UK. Beyond the fauna, Mull has some of the most dramatic coastlines and award winning beaches, with Calgary Bay (located less than two miles from Kildavie) regularly ranked as one of the top beaches in the UK. 

Historically, Mull has played a significant role in Scotland’s past, with Viking raids and Norse control of the  ‘Southern Isles’ forming some of the opening exchanges of land and power off the west coast. Mull itself became a pivotal seat of power for the Lord of the Isles until the end of the 1400s when the Lordship of the Isles was declared forfeit and became part of Scotland. Control for Mull passed to the MacLean’s, with their seat of power at Duart Castle, and there are several other castles and fortified houses spread across the island. A 5 minute ferry ride will also take you to Iona, home to the best preserved ecclesiastical building from the Middle Ages in western Scotland, and one of the oldest and most important religious centres in western Europe.

A visit to Mull provides an incredible opportunity to engage with Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage, and a visit to the Tobermory distillery shouldn’t be missed for those wanting to sample Uisge Beatha.


Accommodation will be provided in local self-catering cottages and either shared room or dorm rooms will be on offer, with wifi internet access available. We will be staying in the nearby village of Dervaig, with local facilities including a shop and pub.  Meals will be provided on all work days associated with the project and all participants will be invited to take part in the public open day in the second week of the project, and the public lecture about our finding that will take place at the end of the excavation.


Costs for attending the Excavation Field School are £675 GBP ($925 US).  Costs include all course fees, transport to and from site each day, accommodation and food on work days.  Transport to and from Mull is not included. A non-refundable 50% deposit will be required on your acceptance to secure your place.  Places are limited and will be given on a first come first served basis upon receipt of your deposit.  Prospective participants will need to complete an application form.


For an additional $60 (USD), participants can be provided with a training manual and portfolio which they will fill in during the course of the project, and which they can take away with them.


There is no application deadline. Places are limited and are given on a first come first served basis. For more information or an application form please contact Ian.


"All of the supervisors have been super helpful, allowing me to gain new skills and improve on previous ones. The accommodation was lovely and everyone has been so nice."

"I loved my time here. I really enjoyed the work and learning new techniques. I enjoyed learning from all of you as well, you're all great teachers."

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