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Top dogs: Hearth protecting hounds of the prehistory feature in award for top dog student

5 October 2020

Regional win at global undergraduate awards programme for Archaeology student

Cardiff student Jessica Peto has been awarded regional winner (Europe) in the Global Undergraduate Awards in Classical Studies and Archaeology, one of 18 categories of the international award.

Now studying for the MSc Archaeological Science, Jess collected the award for her BSc Archaeology undergraduate independent study.

In The Dogs of Cladh Hallan: An Exploration of Beliefs Jess examined the role of dogs in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Britain and the ritual significance that may have surrounded them and their burials, by focusing the dogs uncovered at this prehistoric Outer Hebridean site.  Nearly 400 dog bones were found at the site and included two burials found lying either side of the hearth in a roundhouse. The pair – the size of retrievers at between 52cm and 60cm tall - were discovered poised in pits, as if guarding the central fire, with their legs tucked in.

Her undergraduate study adds to research covering the entire history of human occupation of the Hebridean islands, notably the Sheffield Environmental and Archaeological Research Campaign in the Hebrides or award-winning SEARCH project.

Over 15 years the study has brought together ten universities globally to survey a dozen islands, including research under Professors Niall Sharples and Jacqui Mulville, led by Professor Keith Branigan at Sheffield. Some 60 academics and 800 students have unearthed 2,000 previously unknown archaeological locations, with numerous doctoral studies amassed including those of Cardiff alumni Drs Julia Best, Jennifer Jones and Matt Law and current students Sally Evan and Hanna Pageau.

Established in 2012, the Global Undergraduate Awards recognise top undergraduate work, sharing it with a global audience via its Virtual Summit, taking place over three days for 2020 (16-18 November).

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