Man standing with back to camera looking over mountains and lakes

Quaternary Science and Palaeo-environments Research Group

We work with the environmental past for sustainable futures. We explore landscapes as narratives of the changing relationships between people and their environments.

Our research themes

  • Cultural landscape transitions
  • Glacial landscapes in climate change(d) environments
  • Environmental change impacts on landscape heritage
  • Geo-chronologies

Our research

We are dedicated to the understanding of landscapes as narratives of the changing relationships between people and their environments.

Working within Quaternary and historical frameworks of reference and integrating field and laboratory capabilities, we explore the processes behind long-term environmental change and the adaptive capacities of societies to these changes.

In doing so, and through our international collaborative networks, we set environmental academic agendas and influence policy-makers, practitioners and educators across the globe.

Cultural landscape transitions

We explore the complex historical dynamics of society: environment relationships as expressed in cultural landscapes across the globe. Our creation and development of innovative palaeo-environmental analyses tool-kits enables new insight into community identities, sustainability and resilience over extended periods of time.

Glacial landscape and sea level change

Exploring landscape and seabed expressions of glaciation to past climate change, we give new and foundational analyses for models predicting ice-sheet behaviour and related sea level changes in the future. Our sedimentary and geophysical analytical capabilities deliver new insights into glacier dynamics and associated geomorphic changes on a range of timescales from minutes to millennia.

Environmental change impacts on landscape heritages

We seek to understand and anticipate the complex micro-and macro-scale impacts of climate change, earthquake, conflict and development activities on heritage assets. Experimental constructions of future environments integrated with advanced digital and microscopy methods enable us to make robust predictions and propose mitigation measures.


Working with radiocarbon, optically stimulated luminescence, cosmogenic nuclides and tephrochronology, and integrating statistical analyses, we offer new and high-resolution insights into the geo-chronologies of landscape change and associated archaeological monuments together with the movement of peoples across landscapes.

Contact us

Please contact Professor Ian Simpson for any queries or information.