Dr Nela Scholma-Mason
Research Associate



I did my undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the University of Münster, Germany. Whilst at Münster I developed a keen interest in the archaeology of the Orkney Islands, Scotland, beginning with prehistoric landscapes. This interest in ancient landscapes soon evolved into a study of the perception of prehistoric monuments after Prehistory. Following an MSt in Archaeology at the University of Oxford (Keble College) (where I did a GIS-based study of site distributions across the archipelago) I decided to carry out an in-depth study of the representation of ancient sites in Orkney’s folklore. My PhD thesis at the University of York (awarded January 2018, supervised by Prof. Julian Richards) examines Orkney’s monument-related lore under consideration of archaeological evidence as well as international indexes of folklore motifs and Migratory Legends.



My research interests are not tied to one specific archaeological/historical period. Instead, of key interest are the life stories of bygone people, their reactions to the remnants of even earlier people, and what this tells us about past societies and individuals.


Contact details

Dr Nela Scholma-Mason
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor


Full publications list


2016       Scholma-Mason, N. M. A., ‘Shedding Light on the Kylver Slab’ in Saga-Book XL, 43-55.

2017       Morgan, C. and Scholma-Mason, N. M. A., ‘Animated GIFs as Expressive Visual Narratives and Expository Devices in Archaeology’ in Internet Archaeology 44.

2018       Smith, N.; Beale, G.; Richards, J.; Scholma-Mason, N.M.A, ‘Maeshowe: The Application of RTI to Norse Runes (Data Paper)’ in Internet Archaeology 47.

2019       Scholma-Mason, N.M.A. ‘”Beware the Mound Dweller!”, the representation of ancient sites in Orkney Folklore’ in Orkney Archaeology Review 4, 103-12.

2019       Scholma-Mason, N.M.A.; Richards, J.; Smith, N.; Beale, G.  ‘Runes: treasure in Maeshowe’ in British Archaeology 167, 46-9.

Forthcoming     Scholma-Mason, N. M. A., ‘Those who dwell under the Hills… Orkney’s Mound Lore and Its Wider Context’ forthcoming in Folklore.


Blog Posts and other media

Scholma-Mason, N.M.A., ‘Lady Eliza D’Oyly Burroughs’, illustrated post, Trowelblazers