Ian Ralston was a student of Professor Stuart Piggott at Edinburgh University in the early 1970s. He was then appointed the first Research Fellow in Archaeology at Aberdeen University, before returning to Edinburgh where he was subsequentlty promoted to a Personal Chair in 1998.
Throughout ihis career he has taught and researched numerous apsects of Scottish archaeology, as well as working on the Eurpoean Iron Age., and on archaeological resource management issues. In Scotland his fieldwork has been forcussed on the north-east of Scotland. Hill-forts here and in central France have been one of his major interests.