Landscape and Environment

landscape landing

The varied interactions between people and the landscapes and environments in which they live form an enduring focus for research within the humanities, supported by a wide range of theoretical and scientific approaches.

The relevance of this research of particular relevance for the 21st century with current societal concerns with sustainability, climate change and the resilience of future generations. We have a long tradition of diverse, interdisciplinary research in this area, ranging from palaeo-environmental reconstructions of our deep past, through to historical and spatial study of our land, sea and skyscapes, and anthropological investigations into modern concerns of human interactions with global ecosystems centred on water resources and food security. Our research is frequently complemented by applied research undertaken in partnership with external stakeholders such as heritage agencies.

Research Activities

Research by Nigel Nayling was recently presented in a documentary on Radio 3 (pick of the week): Underwater Archaeology

As one of our major research themes, we have a number of landscape-based and environmental research projects running in Wales, the UK, Europe and the Middle East. The latter includes a new archaeological project in Basra, currently being set up by Prof. Andrew Petersen.

Dr Martin Bates is engaged in collaborative research in a number of important UK and international research projects:

  • Prehistoric landscape change in Orkney
  • La Manche Prehistory project
  • Layers in the Landscape project
  • Stone Age Archaeology of Isimila, Tanzania
  • Gorgan Wall Project, Iran

2018: Prof. Nigel Nayling has been awarded a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship, working closely with Istanbul University, for a project developing digital methods of 3D recording to document ship timbers in the former Theodosian harbour at Yenikapi, Istanbul. Here some 37 medieval ships have been excavated. These are of iternational importance in understanding the development of medieval shipbuilding in the Mediterranean.

UWLAS draw on the considerable expertise and resources of our environmental archaeologists, who work alongside a network of external organisations and specialists.
Visit the UWLAS section to find out more.

Projects that we have been involved in include:

  • Channel Tunnel Rail Link from London to Folkestone
  • Coleman’s Farm gravel quarry investigation
  • Dover Urban Archaeological database geoarchaeological ground model Europe’s Lost Frontiers
  • M4 Relief Road, South Wales
  • Rhyl Waste Water pipeline
  • Shell Haven site in Essex

In press R. Haeussler, Transformation of The Sacred Landscape in Gallia Narbonensis.

In press Chiai, G.F. & R. Haeussler (eds), Sacred Landscapes: Creation, Manipulation, Transformation. Oxford: Oxbow (Including papers by T. Jansen, L. Steel and K. Zinn)

2018 L Steel, Watery Entanglements in the Cypriot Hinterland. Land 7(3). Special Issue: "Central Places and Un-Central Landscapes: Political Economies and Natural Resources in the Longue Durée", eds. G. Papantoniou and Th. Vionis.

2017 C. Wickham-Jones et al. (including M. Bates), The Changing Landscape of Prehistoric Orkney. In: The Ecology of Early Settlement in Northern Europe - Conditions for Subsistence and Survival (Volume 1). Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Sep 2017. ISBN 9781781795156. Date accessed: 22 Dec 2016 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30926. 

2016 MR. Bates and M. Laforge, M. Pleistocene coastal sequences in the Norman-Breton Gulf.  Working paper for: Crossing the Threshold. Dynamic transformation in hominin societies during the Late Middle Palaeolithic. Jersey workshop April 2016.

2016 M.R. Bates, M.R. and M. Pope, Sedimentary sequence. In Late Quaternary (Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and later Prehistoric) human activity in the Darent Valley at Lullingstone Country Park, Eynsford, Kent, H. Anderson-Whymark, H and M. Pope (eds), SpoilHeap Occasional Paper 5, 19-24. Portslade: SpoilHeap Publications.

2016 M.R. Bates, M.R. and M. Pope, Methods for reconstructing Ice Age landscapes. In Lost Landscapes of Palaeolithic Britain. The contribution of projects funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund 2002-2011, M. White (ed.). Oxford Archaeology Monograph 26, 11-51. Oxford:  Oxford Archaeology.

2016 C.R. Bates et al. (including M. R. Bates), The environmental context of the Neolithic monuments on the Brodgar Isthmus, Mainland, Orkney.  Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7: 394-407.

2016 C.R. Bates and M.R. Bates, Palaeogeographic Reconstruction in the Transition Zone: The Role of Geophysical Forward Modelling in Ground Investigation Surveys. Archaeological Prospection 23: 311-23.

2016 J. Cole and M.R. Bates, Contextualising the early Stone Age site of Isimila, Tanzania – report on fieldwork conducted in September 2015. Quaternary Newsletter 140: 38-40.

2016 C. Conneller et al. (including M.R. Bates), Rethinking human responses to sea-level rise: The Mesolithic of the Channel Islands. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.  doi:10.1017/ppr.2016.1

2016 M. Pope, and M.R. Bates, Coastal and submerged landscapes. In Lost Landscapes of Palaeolithic Britain. The contribution of projects funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund 2002-2011. M. White (ed.). Oxford Archaeology Monograph 26, 53-72. Oxford: Oxford Archaeology.

2016 A. Shaw et al. (including M.R. Bates), The archaeology of persistent places: the Palaeolithic case of La Cotte de St Brelade, Jersey. Antiquity 90, 1437-53.

2016 C. Wickham-Jones et. Al. (including M.R. Bates), People and landscape at the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 31(2): 26-47.

2016 L. Steel, Exploring Aredhiou: New Light on the Rural Communities of the Cypriot Hinterland During the Late Bronze Age, American Journal of Archaeology. 120(4): 511-36.

2015 C.R. Bates et al. (including M.R. Bates), Tides of Change. The Geographer.

2015 P. Harding et al. (with contributions by M.R. Bates and J. Crowther), Late Upper Palaeolithic Farndon Fields. In A46 Nottinghamshire The Archaeology of the Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Scheme, 2009. N. Cook and A. Mudd (eds), 12-70. Cotswold Wessex Archaeology Monograph.

2015 D. Hart et al. (including M.R. Bates and M. Walker), Early Neolithic trackways in the Thames floodplain at Belmarsh, London Borough of Greenwich. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.  CJO 2015 doi: 10.1017/ppr.2015.1

2015 R. Haeussler, A landscape of resistance? Cults and sacred landscapes in Western Cisalpine Gaul”, in: Trans Padum Vsque Ad Alpes. Roma tra il Po e le Alpi: dalla romanizzazione alla romanità. Atti del convegno Venezia 13-15 maggio 2014 (Studi e ricerche sulla Gallia Cisalpine, 26), Giovannella Cresci Marrone (ed.), 261-86. Roma: Edizione Quasar.

2015 M. Pope et al. Including (M.R. Bates), Discoveries from La Manche: Five Years of Early Prehistoric Research in the Channel Island of Jersey. Archaeology International 18: 113-23, DOI:

2015 P. Stevenson, E. Kavanagh and M.R.  Bates, Retracing Wales. Llandudno down the rabbit hole. Planet. The Welsh Internationalist 218: 43-9.

2014 N. Ashton et al. (including M.R. Bates), Hominin footprints from Early Pleistocene deposits at Happisburgh, UK. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88329. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088329

2014 M.R. Bates, Decoding Quaternary sea levels.  40-41. In 52 things you should know about Palaeontology, A. Cullum and A. Martinius (eds.). 40-41. Canada: Agile Libre.

2014 M.R. Bates et al., Early Devensian sediments and palaeovenvironmental evidence from the excavations at the Royal Oak Portal Paddington, West London, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists’  Association 125: 41-55.

2014 M.R. Bates et al., Late persistence of the Acheulian in southern Britain in an MIS 8 interstadial: evidence from Harnham, Wiltshire. Quaternary Science Reviews 101: 159-86.

2014 R. Haeussler, Differences in the epigraphic habit in the rural landscapes of Gallia Narbonensis”, in Öffentlichkeit – Monument – Text. XIV Congressus Internationalis Epigraphiae Graeca et Latinae, 27.-31. Augusti MMXII. Akten (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Auctarium, series nova, XIV), W. Eck and P. Funke (eds), 323-345. Berlin: De Gruyter.

2014 A. Petersen, The lost fort of Mafraq and the sixteenth century Hajj Route in Jordan. In Studies in the History and Material Culture of the Hajj, V .Porter (ed.). London: British Museum Press.

2014 B. Scott et al. (including M.R. Bates) A new view from La Cotte de St Brelade, Jersey. Antiquity 88: 13-39.

2014 F.F. Wenban-Smith et al. (including M.R. Bates), The Medway Valley Palaeolithic Project. In The Quaternary of the Lower Thames and Eastern Essex. Field Guide, D.R. Bridgland, P. Allen and T.S. White (eds.), 8-10. London: Quaternary Research Association.

2013 D. Austin, The Archaeology of Monasteries in Wales and the Strata Florida Project. In Monastic Wales, New Approaches, J. Burton, J & K. Stober (eds), 3-20. Cardiff: University of Wales Press

2013 D. Austin, Mountain landscapes and the tradition of industry: the Cambrian Mountains of Central Wales. MADE, Journal of the Welsh School of Architecture 8: 6-15

2013 D. Austin et al. Cipières: Continuity and Landscape in the Alpes-Maritimes, France, Windgather Press.

2013 M. Bates, Coastal erosion and landscape change. In Claimed by the Sea. Salcombe, Langdon Bay and other marine finds of the Bronze Age, S. Needham, D, Parham and C.J. Frieman eds. CBA Research Report 173, 40-50. Council for British Archaeology: York.

2013 M. Bates et al., Late Neanderthal occupation in North-West Europe: rediscovery, investigation and dating of a last glacial sediment sequence at the site of La Cotte de Saint Brelade, Jersey. Journal of Quaternary Science 28: 647-52.

2013 M. Bates and E. Stafford, Thames Holocene: A geoarchaeological approach to the investigation of the river floodplain for High Speed 1, 1994-2004. Wessex Archaeology: Salisbury.

2013 M. Bates et al., Early Devensian sediments and palaeovenvironmental evidence from the excavations at the Royal Oak Portal Paddington, West London, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, j.pgeola.2013.06.001

2013 R. Hauessler. Au-delà de la religion poliade: cité et religion en Gaule Narbonnaise”, Revue archéologique de Narbonnaise 43: 67-84.

2013 A. Petersen, Qalat Ruwayda and the Fortifications of Qatar Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 4: 1-16.

Our ground-breaking, interdisciplinary research is reflected by the various papers presented by colleagues at conferences and public lectures at academic institutions both in the UK and overseas.

November 2018. What happened in room 103 at Arediou, Louise Steel. American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Conference, Boston.

April 2017. Workshop em Dendro-Arqueologia presented by ForSEAdiscovery Poject (Nigel Nayling and Adolfo Martins), Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Lisboa, Portugal, 11 de Abril, 2017

February 2017. Exploring the Materiality of Water in Bronze Age Cyprus, Louise Steel. In the Environment, Landscape and Society conference, CAARI, Nicosia.

January 2017. Árvores, Barcos e Homens na Penísula Ibérica (Séculos XVI-XVIII), Lisboa (Portugal). 26-27th January 2017. Organised by ForSEAdiscovery project

December 2016. Floating Forests – conference session chaired by Nigel Nayling at the International underwater Archaeology Congress (IKUWA 6), Fremantle Australia. Numerous papers presented by fellows of the ForSEAdiscovery project. 

December 2016. Paper on use of illustrations in Palaeolithic archaeological research given by Martin Bates at TAG Southampton.

November 2016. Palaeolithic Jersey, Martin Bates invited speaker at British Museum.

September 2016. Marting Bates invited guest and panel appearance for Art’chaeology exhibition in St. Helier, Jersey.

June 2016. Martin Bates invited speaker at Historic England backed meeting on Deposit Modelling.

May 2016. Paper presented and session chaired by Martin Bates at the Palaeo 2020 meeting, The Antiquaries Society, Burlington House, London.

May 2016. Dendroarchaeology of Ships: Prospect and Practice. ForSEAdiscovery Project training course 23- 27 May, 2016 with open one day conference 27 May, 2016

Spring Semester 2016. Heritage & Environment Research Cluster Seminar Series. Building Boats and Bridges. Lampeter Campus. 20th April-18th May 2016.

April 2016. Martin Bates invited participant at Crossing the Threshold meeting in Jersey (AHRC funded).

March 2016. Martin Bates invited participant at Palaeolithic Research Framework meeting for New Forest National Park at Lymington.

January 2016. Martin Bates presented paper at the Unravelling the Palaeolithic meeting, Southampton University.

December 2015. Martin Bates presented two papers delivered at TAG, Bradford University.

Autumn Semester 2015. “Material Worlds” Seminar Series, Archaeology, History and Anthropology. Papers by Emma-Jayne Abbots, Luci Attala, Penny Dransart, Quentin Drew, Elaine Forde, Eloise Govier, Alex Scott, Louise Steel, Harriett Webster, Katharina Zinn.

September 2015. 14th International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology (ISBSA 14) Gdańsk, Poland, 21-25 September 2015. Nigel Nayling and Ana María Crespo Solana. "ForSEADiscovery: Forest Resources for Iberian Empires: Ecology and Globalization in the Age of Discovery"

September 2015. Martin Bates presented two papers on transgressions and Orkney fieldwork at the European Archaeological Association meeting, University of Glasgow.

May 2015. Happisburg geology, La Cotte, La Manche Prehistory and Mesolithic Channel Islands papers presented by Martin Bates at the Pathways to Ancient Britain (First workshop) meeting, Queen Mary University of London.

March 2015. La Cotte fieldwork, Martin Bates invited speaker at Weatherbeaten Archaeology conference, Sligo.

December 2014. Martin Bates presented paper at an archaeological geophysics meeting, the Geologists’ Association in London.

November 2014. Workshop: "A Gestão dos Recursos Florestais Ibéricos na Construção Naval da Idade Moderna: História e Arqueologia". November 26, 2014. Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Lisboa, Portugal)

October 2014. Medway Geology paper by Martin Bates at the QRA Thames Field trip and conference in Pitsea, Essex.

Our vibrant research culture encompasses numerous conferences and workshops at Lampeter and book launches for our most recent publications. We also have weekly seminars where staff and post-graduate students present their ongoing research alongside invited speakers from the UK and overseas.

November 2017. Layers in the landscape exhibition in the Cloisters, Old Building (opening seminar November 3rd 2017, Founders' Library)

January 2016. Land, Sea and Sky in the Near East, BANEA 2016 @ Lamp.

May 2014. Sacred Landscapes: Creation, Manipulation, Transformation at the University of Wales, (papers by R. Hauessler, T. Jansen, L. Steel, K. Zinn)

Arediou Vouppes: A Late Bronze Age Farming Community on Cyprus (incorporating the subproject Hidden Pasts) was entered as the flagship impact case study for Classics REF 2014 and was awarded 3*. A key aspect of the project has been to promote a wider understanding of the value and relevance of the past (both recent and ancient) as a means of safeguarding the archaeological record for future generations, through the encouragement of local engagement in the construction of narratives of cultural heritage. As part of this project a number of hands-on interactive workshops have been held with the village school at Arediou. Reading and teaching materials, drawing on the excavation results, have been created for use in the local school.

Bore Forest Research Project. In 2015 this project received funding from the Size of Wales tropical reforestation charity to implement a reforestation initiative “Half a Million Trees for Schools” project, working in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, the Kenya Forest Service and Aberystwyth University. In 2014 it was the winner of the UN Gold Star Award in Environmental Impact Category and in the same year received a Welsh Government Grant from the GwirVol International Volunteer Scheme to mount a Wales/Kenya Volunteer Expedition. In 2013 and 2011 it received funding from the Welsh Government Clean Energy Grant scheme to continue monitoring climate change and the implementation of a women’s forestry project in rural Kenya and in 2010 was funded by the Welsh government’s Wales/Africa Community Links.

Ongoing collaborative fieldwork by Martin Bates has generated extensive research impact:

  • 8/4/17: Appearance on The Unexplainers, BBC Radio Wales. 
  • 4/4/17: Quoted in Buzz Feed article on Channel formation
  • 10/03/17: Layers in the Landscape film premiered at the Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival, Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
  • 28/4/16: Local and national news website articles on Borth
  • 17/3/15: Interview of BBC Radio Wales breakfast shown on the Current Archaeology Award for the Happisburg Footprints [link to:
  • 10/15: Opening of temporary exhibition in Jersey on Ice Age Island work
  • 26/6/14: Web new item on Yahoo News: “Welsh Atlantis” emerges after storms strip beach of sand
  • 24/6/14: Article by Katrin Bennhold in NY Times: A Sunken Kingdom Re-emerges
  • 23/5/14: Martin Bates was lunchtime guest on BBC Radio Jersey lunchtime program
  • 21/5/14: Article in Jersey Evening Post “We expect to find an Ice Age hunting camp in St. Saviour”.
  • April 2014: Opening of new exhibition based on Jersey Ice Age Islands Project including talking heads 
  • 20/2/14: Article in Cambrian News “Doctor in team that’s found 800,000 year old footprints”.
  • 19/2/14: Article in Carmarthen Journal “Oldest footprints found is something special”
  • 11/2/14: Opening of new temporary exhibition at The Natural History Museum (Britain 1 million years of the human story) including video footage of MRB. This was covered in various national newspapers, including Daily Telegraph, with reference to Matin Bates work and photos of the footprints
  • 16/1/14: Article in Orcadian “Experts find proof of a prehistoric freshwater loch beneath the Bay of Firth” by Craig Taylor.

Bore Forest Research Project is a recent student campaign at Lampeter ‘Change 4 Change’ has raised nearly £13,000 towards this project to bring alternative livelihoods to the locals.

Our research is embedded in our UG and PG teaching and several modules incorporate practical engagement with Landscape and the Environment through seminars, workshops and practical fieldwork experience.

  • Interactions with the Environment: Making Things, Transforming Things
  • Introducing Archaeology
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Excavation and Analysis
  • Fieldwork and Excavation
  • Lab Techniques
  • Archaeology of the Mediterranean
  • Mediterranean Fieldtrip

We work hard to engage audiences with our research. Examples of our impact include:

More on dendrochronology and nautical archaeology at Lampeter

Radio 3 pick of the week: Underwater Archaeology

Reviewed in the New Statesman: A drowned world beneath the Solent

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