Mike Walker

Prof Michael J.C. Walker B.A. (Oxford), M.Sc. (Calgary), Ph.D. (Edinburgh), FSA

Professor Emeritus of Quaternary Science

E-mail: m.walker@uwtsd.ac.uk



Professor Emeritus of Quaternary Science

Mike’s main research interests are in the Late Quaternary, and especially the Lateglacial (15,000-10,000 years ago), a period on which he has been working for almost 50 years. He is particularly concerned with short-term climate change, its impact on landscape, and its manifestation in proxy records. His research has also focussed on aspects of stratigraphy and chronology (especially radiocarbon dating) during the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition and into the Holocene (the last 11,700 years). In addition, he has worked on a number of projects investigating human/landscape interactions during the Holocene Epoch.

Mike has published more than 160 scientific papers and other contributions, is author of Quaternary Dating Methods (John Wiley, 2005), and co-author of two other Quaternary textbooks: Reconstructing Quaternary Environments (with John Lowe: 1st edition, Longman, 1984; 2nd edition, Addison-Wesley-Longman, 1997; 3rd edition Routledge, 2015), and Late Quaternary Environmental Change: Physical and Human Perspectives (with Martin Bell: (1st edition, Longman, 1992; 2nd edition, Pearson International, 2005).

He has worked extensively for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), chairing the 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 NERC Services Review Group (2001), and of the Steering Committee of the thematic programme EFCHED (Environmental Factors in the Chronology of Human Evolution and Dispersal: 2001-2006).

Mike has been President of the Quaternary Research Association (QRA) 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 ‘North Atlantic Seaboard Programme’, a core component of the International Geological Correlation Programme, 253, ‘Termination of the Pleistocene’ (1990-1994), and co-founder, in 1995, of INTIMATE (Integration of Ice core, Marine and Terrestrial Records), one of the leading international multidisciplinary research groups currently working on the Late Quaternary.

Mike was Secretary of the INQUA (International Union for Quaternary Research) Palaeoclimate Commission from 1999-2003, was a member of the the INQUA Commission on Stratigraphy and Chronology (1999-2015), and remains a member of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). He was Chair of the Joint International Working Group of INTIMATE and the SQS to define the base of the Holocene (2005-2010), and has recently chaired the International Working Group of the SQS to establish a formal stratigraphical subdivision of the Holocene (2011-2018).

Mike is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and an Honorary Professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Aberystwyth. He became an Honorary Member of the Quaternary Research Association in 2007, and in 2014 was awarded the James Croll Medal, the highest accolade of the Quaternary Research Associaion, for his contribution to international Quaternary science.  In 2019, his co-authored textbook Reconstructing Quaternary Environments received a Special Recognition Award at the 4-yearly Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research in Dublin.

Mike retired from the University of Wales, Lampeter, in 2004 but remains research-active. The following is a list of publications since retirement.


Jones, G., Davies, S.M., Staff, R.A., Davies, S.J., Loader, N.J., Walker, M.  (2020): Tracces of tephras from the Mediterranean, Iceland and North America in a Holocene record from South Wales, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science, 35, 163-174.


Walker, M., Head, M.J., Lowe, J., Berkelhammer, M., Björck, S., Cheng, H., Cwynar, L., Fisher, D., Gkinis, V., Long, A., Newnham, R., Rasmussen, S.O. & Weiss, H. (2019): Subdividing the Holocene Series/Epoch: formalisation of Stages/Ages and Subseries/Subepochs, and designation of GSSPs and Auxiliary Stratotypes. Journal of Quaternary Science, 34, 173-186.


Walker, M. & Lowe J. (2019): Lateglacial environmental change in Scotland. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 110, 173-198.


Walker, M., Gibbard, P., Head, M.J., Berkelhammer, M., Björck, S., Cheng, H., Cwynar, L., Fisher, D., Gkinis, V., Long, A., Lowe, J., Newnham, R., Rasmussen, S.O. & Weiss, H. (2019): Fomal subdivision of the Holoce Series/Epoch: a summary, Journal of the Geological Society of India, 93, 135-141.


Walker, M., Head, M.J., Berkelhammer, M., Björck, S., Cheng, H., Cwynar, L., Fisher, D., Gkinis, V., Long, A., Lowe, J., Newnham, R., Rasmussen, S.O. & Weiss, H. (2018): Fomal ratification of the subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch (Quaternary System/ Period): two new Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs) and three new stages/subseries. Episodes, 41, 213-223.


Bates, M., Bates, C.R., Briant, R.M., Gibbard, P.L., Glaister, C., Jones, S., Meijer, T., Penkman, K.E.H., Schwenninger, J.-L., Walker, M.J.C., Wenban-Smith, F.F., & Whittaker, J.E. (2017): The Quaternary evolution of the Lower Medway: new evidence from beneath the floodplain. In: Between the Thames and the Medway; Archaoleogical excavation on the Hoo peninsula and its environment (edited by Giles Dawkes), Spoil Heap Publications Monograph 13,  Archaeology South-East (UCL Institute of Archaeology) and Surrey Archaeological Unit (Surrey County Council), 9-63.


Head, M.J., Aubry, M.-P., Walker, M., Miller, K.G. & Pratt, B.R. (2017): A case for formalising subseries (subepochs) of the Cenozoic era. Episodes, 40, 22-27.


Walker, M. (2016): INTIMATE (Integration of ice-core, marine and terrestrial records) 20 years on: retrospect and prospect. Scottish Geographical Journal, 132, 164-170.


Lowe J. & Walker, M. (2016): Environmental changes affecting Skye during the Lateglacial and Early Holocene. in The Quaternary of the Isle of Skye: Field Guide (edited by C.K. Ballantyne & J.J. Lowe), Quaternary Research Association, London, 112-139.


Hall, D., Allott, L., Bamforth, M., Bates, M., Jones, S., Marshall, P., Walker, M. & Weisskopf, A. (2015):  Early Neolithic trackways in the Thames Floodplain at Belmarsh, London Borough of Greenwich. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 81, 215-237.


Walker, M., Gibbard, P. & Lowe J. (2015): Comment on “When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary is stratigraphically optimal” by Jan Zalasiewicz et al. (2015), Quaternary International, 383,  204-207.


Lowe, J. & Walker, M. (2015): Measuring Quaternary Time: a 50-year perspective Journal of Quaternary Science, 30, 104-113.


Lowe, J. & Walker, M. (2015): Reconstructing Quaternary Environments. 3rd edition. Routledge, London, 538 pp.


Walker, M.J.C., Gibbard, P.L., Berkelhammer, M., Bjorck, S., Cwynar, L.C., Fisher, D.A., Long, A.J., Lowe, J.J., Newnham, R.M., Rasmussen, S.O., Weiss, H. (2014): Formal Subdivision of the Holocene Series/Eopch. In STRATI2013 (edited by R. Rocha, J. Pais, J.C. Kullberg, & S. Finney), Springer Geology, Switzerland, 983-987.


Rasmussen, S.O., Birks, H.H., Blockley, S.P.E.,  Brauer, A., Hajdas, I., Hoek, W.Z., Lowe, J.J., Moreno, A., Renssen, H., Roche, D., Svensson, A., Valdes, P. & Walker, J.C. (2014): Dating, synthesis, and interpretation of palaeoclimatic records of the last glacial cycle, and model-data integration: advances of the INTIMATE project (INTegration of Ice-core, MArine and Terrestrial records) COST Action ES0907. Quaternary Science Reviews, 106, 1-13.


Rasmussen, S.O., Bigler, M., Blockley, S.P.E., Blunier, T, Buchardt, S.L., Clausen, H.B., Cvijanovic, I., Dahl-Jensen, D., Johnsen, S.J., Fischer, H., Gkinis, V., Guillevic, M., Hoek, W.Z., Lowe, J.J., Pedro, J., Popp, T., Seierstad, I.K., Steffensen, J.P., Svensson, A., Vallelonga, P., Vinther, B.M., Walker, M.J.C., Wheatley, J.J. & Winstrup, M. (2014): A stratigraphic framework for abrupt climatic changes during the last glacial period based on three synchronised Greenland ice-core records: refining and extending the INTIMATE event stratigraphy. Quaternary Science Reviews, 106, 14-28.


Walker, M.J.C. & Lowe, J.J.  (2014): The Lateglacial period in Britain. In The History of the Quaternary Research Association. (edited by J.A. Catt & I. Candy), Quaternary Research Association, London, 357-376.


Gibbard, P.L. & Walker, M.J.C.  (2014): The term ‘Anthropocene’ in the context of formal geological classification. Geological Society of London, Special Publications, 395, 29-37.


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, P.J. Bartlein, K.R. Briffa, A.G. Dawson, A. de Vernal, T. Denham, S.C. Fritts & F. Oldfield), Sage Publications, London, 92-115.


Walker, M., Lowe, J., Blockley, S., Bryant, C., Coombes, P., Hardiman, M., Turney, C. & Watson, J. (2012): Lateglacial and Early Holocene palaeoenvironmental ‘events’ in Sluggan Bog, Northern Ireland: comparisons with the Greenland NGRIP GICC05 event stratigraphy. Quaternary Science Reviews, 36, 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., Nwenham,. 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. A. (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., Walker, M.J.C. & Porter S.A. (2007): Introduction: Understanding Quaternary climatic change. In Encyclopaedia 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: 130-131); Craig Cerrig-gleisiad: pollen stratigraphy and dating (pp 142-144); ): Traeth Mawr: pollen stratigraphy and glacial chronology (pp 146-150).  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.


Palmer, A.P., Rose, J., Lowe, J.J. & Walker, M.J.C.  (2007): The pre-Holocene successsion of glaciolacustrine sediments within Llangorse basin. 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, 220-229.


Walker, M., Long, A., Fallick, T. & Kay, L. (2007): Cosmogenic isotope analysis provision in  Britain: the role of the Natural Environment Research Council Cosmogenic Isotope Analysis Facility Steering Committee. Quaternary Newsletter, 113, 18-24.


Walker, M.J.C. & Lowe J.J. (2007): Quaternary Science 2007: a Fifty-Year Retrospective. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 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 complex 1987-1999 (edited by B. Burnham & H. Burnham), Oxbow, Oxford, 214-217.


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