From chef to archaeology graduation success

Wayne Easton
Wayne Easton
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Wayne Easton from Tyrie near Fraserburgh swapped culinary creation for excavation taking on a degree in archaeology after many years as a chef and carer.

The 48 year-old graduates today with a 2:1 Joint Honours degree classification in Archaeology and Celtic Civilisation, after 4 years study at the University of Aberdeen. Wayne said: “When I left school going to university was not an option, you were expected to go to work or go to college.

“I had two options, to go to Commercial Art College in Aberdeen or start work in Fraserburgh as a commis chef, for whatever reason I decided on the work path which I thought prudent at the time.”

Wayne worked in the catering field for most of his adult life, before decided to embark on his academic journey, including more than 15 years at one of the Gas Terminals at St. Fergus, as well as regional and local hotels, and at a pub-restaurant as primary chef.

In addition to this he fulfilled the role of being a part-time then full-time parental carer. From these familiar albeit stressful work-life experiences he left to return to full-time education in order to gain better qualifications and to broaden his outlook on life.

His ‘life-changing experience’ began with a computing course at Banff and Buchan College in Fraserburgh where he was bitten by the study bug and went on to do a course in Social Studies, which included an ‘access to degree’ element.

Wayne said the course proved to be a ‘window into another world’ however he was still unsure about continuing his journey into higher education until he was persuaded by a tutor at the college that he should pursue a subject at university level that interested him.

The subject that interested him most was Archaeology and he said he realised that ‘the only thing that really stops people from trying anything new are themselves.’

Since starting study at the university in 2007, he has studied a range of courses that all ‘dove-tail’ in with his primary interest in archaeology, including history, anthropology and Celtic Studies. In December of 2010 he completed his dissertation on a related socio-archaeological topic, ‘The Impact of Material Culture on Social Identity in North- Eastern Scottish Fishing Communities.’

As part of his studies he has taken part in several archaeological digs, including one at Pitsligo Castle near Fraserburgh, to uncover the original ornamental gardens. In 2009 he spent time at the high profile Ness of Brodgar site and in 2008 spent a month at the Snusgar late Picto-Norse excavation at Skaill, near the Bay of Skaill on the West Mainland of Orkney. Subsequently he returned there for a final dig at the site in 2010, under the directorship of Dr David Griffiths of Oxford University.

Wayne is among the very first cohort of full-time archaeology students to graduate with an honours degree in the subject from Aberdeen.

Graduation last Thursday, (July 7) marked the end not only of a long academic journey but also a long commute for Wayne, who spent up to five hours a day on several buses to reach the University, utilising the time for course reading.

He will be watched by his sister and friends when he receives his degree at Elphinstone Hall, King’s College.