Professor Mark Bateman

Professor in Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction

Mark Bateman

Room number: F5
Telephone (internal): 27929
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7929
Telephone (International):

+44 114 222 7929


Mark Bateman received a First Class BSc in Geography from the University of London in 1991 and a DPhil from Sussex University in 1995. In 1995 he joined the Sheffield Geography department as a PDRA to set up and run the luminescence laboratory for the Sheffield Centre for International Drylands Research.

In 1998, Mark Bateman was appointed Lecturer in Physical Geography, promoted to Senior Lecturer (2004), Reader in Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction (2006), and awarded a Chair in 2011.



Current Research:

My high profile collaborative research focuses on sandscapes as an archive for understanding past depositional processes and environmental changes which have shapes the landscape we live in.
Three themes are centred around this:

Research Interests:

  • Quaternary palaeoenvironments
  • Warm and cold-climate aeolian sands
  • Luminescence dating

Research is currently trying to extend the application of luminescence dating to glacial and ice marginal sediments. Previous research I have carried out has investigated cold-climate aeolian sediments and periglacial features to understand past glacial environments in Canada and NW Europe. This has now been extended to looking at ice-marginal lakes and associated sediments to understand ice-dynamics of the last British and Irish Icesheet and its relationship to climate as part of the NERC funded BRITICE-CHRONO project. Previous research was able to shown rerouting of proglacial Lake Aggassiz outburst floods through the McKenzie Delta (Arctic Canada) may have caused the Younger Dryas event.
Read more on Understanding former perigacial and glacial environments

As aeolian deposits, both arid zone and cold-climate, are widespread in the Quaternary sedimentary record they can provide key data for understanding previous palaeoenvironmental conditions and inform the archaeological record. For example in Southern Africa are a range of relict geomorphic features indicative of past aeolian activity. Establishing the timing and regional significance of phases of activity has the potential to inform debates about the timing and extent of major Late Quaternary rainfall zone shifts, coastline reconfigurations and environments associated with the emergence of modern humans.
Read more on Late Quaternary aeolian activity

Advances in luminescence through portable dating and resetting in glacial environments. Novel applications of portable luminescence dating has allowed a better understanding preserved dunes as an archive of climate changes. Research conducted in Namibia has established a methodology for rapidly field dating dunes within the sand sea there opening up the possibility of widescale dune dating to get a more holistic picture of sand sea development. Work on coasts funded by White Rose and NERC is currently looking at whether dune profiling can be used to establish the fequence and magnitude of storm surge events which have hit the coastlines of the UK in the last 500 years. Also within this research theme, experimental work is ongoing investigating the possibility that subglacial grinding might also be a resetting mechanism for luminescence dating. The latter would enable a far wider and more direct application of luminescence dating in understanding ice-sheet advances and retreats.
Read more on portable luminescence


The undergraduate and postgraduate teaching I specialise in relates to understanding past changes in climate and environment which have shaped the landscape we live in. This covers the fields of geomorphology, sedimentology and Quaternary Science with the modules I contribute to trying to make inter-disciplinary linkages between these fields as well as giving student the skills required to understand the preserved record. I have particular interests in periglacial and desert environments and each year supervise students projects in these areas.

My teaching interests reflect my research interests so I can keep students up-to-date on current developments. The style of my teachng varies from teaching out and about on fieldclasses, in the laboratory and through lectures and small group tutorials.

Mark teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses including:

GEO206 Environmental Change
GEO233 Glacial Environments
GEO345 Glacial & Periglacial Geomorphology
GEO365 Drylands Californian Field Class

GEO6605 Unlocking the Sedimentary Archive

All staff also engage in personal supervision and tutoring of individual students at all three undergraduate levels in the following modules:
GEO163 (Information & Communication Skills for Geographers)
GEO263 or GEO264 (Research Design in Human or Physical Geography)
GEO356 (Geographical Research Project)


View full list of publications