Professor Mike Walker

Professor Emeritus of Quaternary Science

Prof Mike Walker B.A. (Oxford), M.Sc. (Calgary), PhD. (Edinburgh), FSA

Contact Details



Mike’s main research interests are in the Late Quaternary, and especially in the Lateglacial (15-10 k cal yrs BP), a period on which he has been working for more than 30 years.

He is particularly interested in short-term climate change, its impact on landscape, and its manifestation in proxy records. His research has also been concerned with aspects of stratigraphy and chronology, especially radiocarbon dating, during the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition.

He has published more than 140 scientific papers and other contributions, and is co-author of two Quaternary textbooks: Reconstructing Quaternary Environments (with John Lowe), (1st edition, Longman, 1984; 2nd edition, Addison-Wesley-Longman, 1997), and Late Quaternary Environmental Change: Physical and Human Perspectives (with Martin Bell), (1st edition, Longman, 1992; 2nd edition, Pearson International, 2005). His most recent book is Quaternary Dating Methods, (John Wiley, Chichester & New York, 2005).

Mike has chaired the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Radiocarbon Facilities Steering Committee (1995-1999), the NERC Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Strategy Group (2000-2004), and the NERC Cosmogenic Isotope Analysis Facility Steering Committee (2005-2007).

He was a member of the NERC Earth Sciences Peer Review Committee (1999-2002), of the Services Review Group (2001), and of the EFCHED (Environmental Factors in the Chronology of Human Evolution and Dispersal) Steering Committee (2001-2006).

He has been President of the Quaternary Research Association of Great Britain (1999-2002), and Editor of Journal of Quaternary Science (1995-1999). He continues to serve on the Editorial Board of Journal of Quaternary Science (John Wiley) and is a former member of the Editorial Board of Quaternary Science Reviews (Elsevier: 2000-2005).

He was the European co-ordinator for the IGCP-253 Termination of the Pleistocene ‘North Atlantic Seaboard Program’ (1990-1994), and co-founder, in 1995 of INTIMATE (Integration of Ice core, Marine and Terrestrial Records), now a core program of the INQUA (International Union for Quaternary Research) Palaeoclimate Commission.

He was Secretary of the Palaeoclimate Commission from 1999-2003, and is currently a Member of the INQUA Commission on Stratigraphy and Chronology, and of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy(ICS).

He has recently Chaired a Joint Working Group of INTIMATE and the SQS to define the base of the Holocene.

He is also a member of the Working Group of the SQS on the Anthropocene base of  the Holocene, and is currently chairing a new INTIMATE/SQS Working Group to consider a formal subdivision of the Holocene.

Mike is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and an Honorary Professor in the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Aberystwyth. 


Publications post-2001

Walker, M.J.C., Berkelhammer, M.,  Björck, S., Cwynar, L.C., Fisher, D.A., Long, A.J., Lowe, J.J., Newnham, R.M.,  Rasmussen, S.O.  & Weiss, H. (2012). Formal subdivision of the Holocene Series/ Epoch: a Discussion Paper by a Working Group of INTIMATE (Integration of ice-core marine and terrestrial records) and the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (International Commission on Stratigraphy). Journal of Quaternary Science, 27, 649-659.

Walker, M. (2012): Dating environmental change and constructing chronologies. In Handbook of Environmental Change(edited by J.A. Matthews), Sage Publications, London, 92-115.

Walker, M., Lowe, J., Blockley, S., Bryant, C., Coombes, P., Hardiman, M., Turney, C. & Watson, J. (2011):  Lateglacial and Early Holocene palaeoenvironmental ‘events’ in Sluggan Bog, Northern Ireland: comparisons with the Greenland NGRIP GICC05 event stratigraphy. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 124-138.

Gibbard, P.L., Head, M.J., Walker, M.J.C. & The Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy. (2010):  Formal ratification of the Quaternary System/Period and the Pleistocene Series/Epoch with a base at 2.58 Ma. Journal of Quaternary Science, 25, 96-102.

Walker, M., Jones, S., Hall, J. & Sambrook, P. (2009): A preliminary palaeoecological record from Llyn Llech Owain, near Gorslas, Carmarthenshire. Archaeology in Wales, 49, 53-58.

Bates, M.R., Bates, C.R., Bates, S., Jones, S., Schwenninger, J.-L., Walker, M.J.C. & Whittaker, J.E. (2009):  Cold stage deposits of the West Sussex Coastal Plain: the evidence from Warblington, Hampshire. In The Quaternary of the Solent Basin and West Sussex Raised Beaches: Field Guide (edited by R.M. Briant, M.R. Bates, R.T. Hosfield & F.F. Wenban-Smith, Quaternary Research Association, London, 60-72.

Walker, M.,  Johnsen, S., Rasmussen, S.O., Popp, T., Steffensen, J-P., Gibbard, P., Hoek, W., Lowe, J., Andrews, J., Björck, S., Cwynar, L.C. Hughen, K., Kershaw, P., Kromer, B., Litt, T., Lowe, D.J., Nakagawa, T., Newnham,. R. & Schwander, J. (2009): Formal definition and dating of the GSSP (Global Stratotype Section and Point) for the base of the Holocene using the Greenland NGRIP ice core, and selected auxiliary records. Journal of Quaternary Science, 24, 3-17.

Palmer, A., Rose,  J, Lowe,  J.J. & Walker, M.J.C.  (2008): Annually-laminated Late Pleistocene sediments from Llangorse Lake, South Wales, UK: a chronology for the pattern of ice wastage. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 119, 245-258

Bates, M.R., Barham, A.J., Jones, S., Parfitt, K., Parfitt, S., Pedley, M.,  Preece, R.C., Walker, M.J.C. & Whittaker, J.E. (2008): Holocene sequences and archaeology from the Crabble Mill site, Dover, UK, and their regional significance.Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 119, 299-327.

Walker, M. (2008): Lateglacial and Early Holocene pollen records in the Upper Truim Valley. In The Quaternary of Glen Roy and Vicinity: Field Guide (edited by A.P. Palmer, J.J. Lowe & J. Rose). Quaternary Research Association, London, 53-59.

Walker, M., Johnsen, S., Rasmussen, S.O., Steffensen, J.-P., Popp, T., Gibbard, P., Hoek, W., Lowe, J., Andrews, J., Björck, S., Cwynar, L., Hughen, K., Kreshaw, P., Kromer, B., Litt, T., Low, D.J., Nakagawa, T., Newnham, R. & Schwander, J. (2008): A proposal for the  Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Holocene Series/Epoch (Quaternary System/Period) in the NGRIP ice core. Episodes, 31, 264-267.

Lowe, J.J., Rasmussen, S.O., Björck, S., Hoek, W.Z., Steffensen, J.P., Walker, M.J.C. Yu, Z. and the INTIMATE group. (2008): Synchronisation of palaeoenvironmental events in the North Atlantic region during the Last Termination: a revised protocol recommended by the INTIMATE group. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27, 6-17.

Lowe, J.J., Walker, M.J.C. & Porter S.A. (2007): Introduction: Understanding Quaternary climatic change. InEncyclopaedia of Quaternary Science vol. 1, (edited by S.A. Elias), Elsevier,  28-39.

Walker, M.J.C. (2007): Craig-y-Fro: pollen stratigraphy and dating (pp 128-129); Craig-y-Fro Quarry (with J. Davies: pp 130-131); Craig Cerrig-gleisiad: pollen stratigraphy and dating (pp 142-144); ): Traeth Mawr: pollen stratigraphy and glacial chronology (pp 146-150); The pre-Holocene successsion of glaciolacustrine sediments within Llangorse basin (with A.P. Palmer, J. Rose & J. J. Lowe: 220-229). In Quaternary of the Brecon Beacons: Field Guide (edited by  S.J. Carr, C.G. Coleman, A.J. Humpage & R.A.Shakesby), Quaternary Research Association, London.

Walker, M.J.C. & Lowe J.J. (2007): Quaternary Science 2007: a Fifty-Year Retrospective. Journal of the Geological SocietyLondon, 164, 1073-1092.

Catt, J.A.,  Gibbard, P.L.,  Lowe, J.J., McCarroll,  D., Scourse, J. D., Walker, M.J.C. & Wymer J.J. (2006): Quaternary: ice sheets and their legacy.  In The Geology of England and Wales (edited by P.J. Brenchley & P.F. Rawson), The Geological Society, London, 430-467.

Walker, M., Jones, S., Hussey, R. & Buckley, S. (2006): Mesolithic burning in the uplands of Wales: evidence from Esgair Ffraith, near Lampeter, west Wales. Archaeology in Wales, 46, 3-10.

Walker, M.J.C. (2006): The Environmental Evidence. In Dolaucothi-Pumpsaint: Survey and excavations at a Roman Gold-Mining compplex 1987-1999 (B. Burnham & H, Burnham), Oxbow, Oxford, 214-217.

Walker, M.  (2005): Quaternary Dating Methods. John Wiley, Chichester & New York, 286 pp.

Bell, M.  & Walker, M.J.C.  (2005): Late Quaternary Environmental Change: Physical and Human Perspectives. 2nd edition, Pearson International, London, 348 pp.

Walker, M.J.C. (2004): Palaeoenvironmental evidence: Introduction (pp 30-34); Pollen evidence (with J.H. James: pp 34-40); Environmental overview (with A.E. Caseldine: pp 70-71). In The Barland's Farm Romano-Celtic Boat (N.Nayling & S. McGrail), Council for British Archaeology Research Report 138.

Lowe, J.J., Walker, M.J.C., Scott, E.M., Harkness, D.D., Bryant, C.L. & Davies, S (2004): A coherent high precision chronology for the Lateglacial sequence at Sluggan Bog, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.  Journal of Quaternary Science, 19, 147-158.

Blockley, S.P.E., Lowe, J.J., Walker, M.J.C., Asioli, A., Trincardi, F., Coope, G.R., Donahue, R.E. & Pollard, A.M. (2004): Bayesian recalibration of radiocarbon chronologies: examples from the European Lateglacial. Journal of Quaternary Science, 19, 159-175.

Walker, M.J.C. (2004): A Lateglacial pollen record from Hallsenna Moor, near Seascale, Cumbria, with evidence for increased aridity during the later Loch Lomond Stadial and early Holocene. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 55, 33-42.

Walker, M.J.C., Coope, G.R.,  Sheldrick, C.,  Turney, C.S.M., Lowe, J.J., Blockley S.P.E. &  Harkness, D.D. (2003): Devensian Late-glacial environmental changes in Britain: a multi-proxy record from Llanilid, South Wales, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews, 22, 475-520.

Jones, S.E., Walker, M.J.C.  Druce D. and Caseldine, A.E.  (2003): Pollen-stratigraphic evidence and radiocarbon dates from the ‘Princetown Hoard’ site, near Tafarnaubach, Gwent.  Archaeology in Wales, 42, 37-45.

Walker, M.J.C., Druce, D., Caseldine, A.E. & Cameron, N.G. (2002): Palaeoecological investigations of buried peats at the proposed Cardiff International Railfreight Terminal, Wentlooge, Cardiff. Archaeology in the Severn Estuary, 13, 107-122.

Buckley, S.L. & Walker, M.J.C. (2001): A mid-Flandrian tephra horizon, Cambrian Mountains, West Wales. Quaternary Newsletter, 96, 5-12.

Walker, M.J.C. (2001): Rapid climate change during the Last-Glacial-Interglacial transition; implications for stratigraphic subdivision, correlation and dating. Global and Planetary Change, 30, 59-72.

Walker, M.J.C., Bryant, C.L.,  Coope, G.R., Harkness, D.D.,  Lowe, J.J. & Scott, E.M. (2001): Towards a radiocarbon chronology for the Late-glacial: sample selection strategies. Radiocarbon  43, 1007-1020.

Lowe, J.J., Hoek, W. and INTIMATE Group (2001): Inter-regional correlation of palaeoclimatic records for the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition: a protocol for improved precision recommended by the INTIMATE project group. Quaternary Science Reviews, 20, 1175-1187.

Walker, M.J.C., Björck, S. & Lowe, J.J. (2001): Integration of Ice Core, Marine and Terrestrial Records (INTIMATE) from around the North Atlantic region: an introduction. Quaternary Science Reviews, 20, 1169-1174.

Walker, M.J.C & McCarroll D. (eds.) (2001): The Quaternary of West Wales: Field Guide M.J.C. Walker. Landscape change and human impact in west Wales during the Lateglacial and Flandrian (with A.E. Caseldine & S.P. Buckley: pp 17-29); A pollen record from a ground ice depression (pingo 'U'), Cledlyn Valley (with J.James: pp 71-75); Flandrian vegetation of upland mid-Wales: Bryniau Pica (with S. P. Buckley: 92-102). Quaternary Research Association, London.

Yates, A., Roberts, R. &  Walker, M. (2001): The archaeology of the Wentlooge Level: investigations along the Wentlooge Sewers, 1998-1999. Archaeology in the Severn Estuary, 12, 55-77.

Walker, M.J.C., James, J.H., Caseldine, A.E. & Hankinson, R.  (2001): A mid-Holocene pollen record from peats from beneath the Roman Road at Caersws, Powys. Archaeology in Wales, 40, 9-13.