Jamie Woodward


Personal profile


Recent PhD students

I would be very happy to discuss potential PhD projects in the general area of microplastics in rivers, Anthropocene rivers, Quaternary environmental change and geoarchaeology of the Mediterranean and Nile Valley. 

  • Bingdian Wang (2023-2026) Climate controls on Mountain glaciation. Supervisors: Philip Hughes, JW and Chris Darvill.
  • Badiozaman Sulaiman (2021-2024) Microplastics in urban river ecosystems. Supervisors: JW and Holly Shiels.
  • Jiawei Li (2018-2021) Urban floodplain records of microplastic contamination. Supervisors JW: and James Rothwell.
  • Madeleine Hann (2018-2021) Quaternary River Behaviour in Glaciated Catchments of the High Atlas, Morocco. Supervisors: JW and Philip Hughes.
  • James Allard (2018-2021) Pleistocene glaciation in the Mediterranean: extent, timing and significance. Supervisors: Philip Hughes and JW. 
  • Alison Burns (2014-2019) An 8000-year record of prehistoric footprints in a dynamic coastal landscape, Formby Point, UK. Supervisors: Chantal Conneller and JW.
  • Rachel Hurley (2013-2017) Metals and microplastics in the first industrial city. Supervisors: JW and James Rothwell
  • Kathryn Adamson (2009-2012) The response of Mediterranean river basins to Pleistocene glaciation. Supervisors: JW and Philip Hughes
  • Barry Taylor (2008-2012) Palaeolake Pickering and the Environmental Context of the Mesolithic Archaeology. Supervisors: JW, Jeff Blackford and Melanie Giles
  • Jim Leary (2009-2013, PT) The Last Hunter-Gatherers of the Southern North Sea and English Channel: Changing Lives, Changing Landscapes. Supervisors: Chantal Conneller and JW.


Previous PhD students

  • Rose Wilkinson (Completed 2011) (The University of Manchester) A Multi-Proxy Study of Late Holocene Environmental Change in the Prokletije Mountains, Montenegro. Supervisors: JW, Jeff Blackford and Philip Hughes
  • Michael Morley (2007) (University of Manchester) Funded by NERC: Mediterranean geoarchaeology and Quaternary landscape dynamics. Supervisors: JW, Mark Pluciennik (Leicester) and Paul Goldberg (Boston, USA)
  • Dr Philip Hughes (2004) (University of Cambridge) Funded by a University of Cambridge Domestic Research Studentship and NERC: Late Quaternary glaciations in the Pindus Mountains, northwest Greece. Supervisors:JW and Phil Gibbard (University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Maroulia Zorzou (2004) (University of Leeds) Funded by a Greek Government Award and the School of Geography (Leeds) Suspended sediment delivery and sediment properties in mountain catchments of western Greece. Supervisors: JW and Ian Foster (Coventry University)
  • Dr Suzanne Hewitt (2002) (University of Leeds) Funded by NERC (GT4/98/129) Pleistocene river behaviour and sediment transfer in glaciated catchments of the Mediterranean. Supervisors: JW and Mark Macklin (Aberystwyth)
  • Kevin Jenkins* (University of Leeds) Funded by the School of Geography and the British Museum. Monsoon-related flooding, Holocene channel avulsion histories and alluvial archaeology in the Nile Valley, Northern Sudan. 1997-2000. *Kevin Jenkins died in November 1997 - a brilliant student and sadly missed. Supervisors: JW, Mark Macklin and Derek Welsby (The British Museum)
  • Dr Rob Hamlin (2000) (University of Leeds) Funded by the School of Geography and NERC (GR9/2916) Environmental change and catastrophic flooding in the Voidomatis and Aoos basins, northwest Greece. Supervisors: JW and Mark Macklin
  • Graham Smith (Manchester Metropolitan University) Funded by a Faculty of Science and Engineering (MMU) Award: Glaciated terrains of the Pindus Mountains, northwest Greece: A remote sensing and field-based study. Supervisors: JW, Ian Heywood and Jim Petch
  • Dr George Christopoulos (1998) (Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Leeds) Funded by a Greek Government Award and NERC (RDA 599/0195) Late Holocene river behaviour in the lower Alfios basin, western Greece. Supervisors: JW and Mark Macklin
  • Dr Joanne E. Cheesman (1998) (Manchester Metropolitan University) Funded by North West Water. Modelling long-term runoff from upland catchments. Supervisors: JW and Jim Petch.

Further information

Administrative experience

At The University of Manchester

  • Director of the MGEOG programme from 2013
  • Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Environment and Development (2008-2011)
  • Faculty of Humanities Teaching and Learning Committee (2008-2011)
  • School of Environment and Development Policy and Resources Committee (2008-2011)
  • Director of the BA in Geography and Archaeology (2004-2010)

External Examining

  • October 2011 to summer 2014: External examiner for Geography BSc programmes at the University of Liverpool
  • October 2008 to summer 2011: Physical Geography external examiner for the Part II Examination in the Geographical Tripos at the University of Cambridge
  • October 2008 to 2010: External examiner for the MSc programme in Landscape, Heritage and Environment at Queen’s University Belfast
  • October 2004 to 2008: External examiner for the MSc programme in River Basin Dynamics and Management at Aberystwyth University
  • October 2005 to summer 2008: External examiner for the BSc programme in Geography at the University of Huddersfield
  • I have examined PhDs at the following institutions: University of Cambridge, University of East Anglia, University of Exeter (x3), Aberystwyth University, University of Leeds (x5), The University of Manchester (x2), Newcastle University, University of Sheffield, University of Liverpool, Massey University, New Zealand.

Further information

Key Conference Presentations 2008 to 2012

  • Woodward et al. (2012) New records of Holocene Flooding in Northern Sudan. The Sudan Archaeological Research Society, The British Museum, London, May 14th.
  • Woodward et al. (2011) New Records of Holocene Flooding in the Desert Nile. 17th INQUA Congress (International Union for Quaternary Research), Bern, Switzerland, July 20–27
  • Keynote Paper: Woodward, J.C. (2011) Quaternary Change and Palaeohydrology: Recent Advances from the Mediterranean. Palaeohydrology: Learning Lessons from the Past. Annual Meeting of the UK Quaternary Research Association, Liverpool, January 4–6 (Invited Paper)
  • Keynote Paper: Woodward, J.C. (2009) Pleistocene Glaciation in the Mediterranean: Past, Present and Future Research. 7th International Meeting on Global Continental Palaeohydrology. GLOCOPH-Israel 2009, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, October 25th to November 3rd (Invited Paper)
  • Woodward, J.C. et al. (2008) Glacial Activity and Catchment Dynamics in Northwest Greece: Long-term River Behaviour and the Slackwater Sediment Record for the Last Glacial to Interglacial Transition. 39th Annual Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium, Austin, Texas, October 10–11 (Invited Paper). Published in Geomorphology.



Current research awards

  • Environmental impacts of climate change in the Nile Basin over the past 30,000 years. Australian Research Council, Discovery Award (2008-2012) $251,800. Collaborators: The University of Adelaide; Aberystwyth University; The University of Manchester; University of Bergen
  • Health and diet in ancient Nubia through political and climate change. The Leverhulme Trust (2009-2013) £213,233. Collaborators: The British Museum; The University of Manchester; The University of Durham; Aberystwyth University

Activities and esteem

Recent professional activity



Year 1

Keswick fieldcourse
GEOG 10401 - Environmental Processes and Change: The Global System (with Gareth Clay)

Year 2

GEOG 20062 - Dissertation tutorials

Year 3

GEOG 30130 - Ice Age Earth: Global and Mediterranean Perspectives (with Phil Hughes)


GEOG 40100 - Contemporary Geographical Research

GEOG 40300 - Research Project



Jamie Woodward    Cover of Geoarchaeology    Cover of the Physical Geography of the Mediterranean

BSc (Aberystwyth); PhD (Cambridge)

  • Aberystwyth University (1983-86) BSc in Geography
  • University of Cambridge (1986-90) PhD in Quaternary Research
  • University of Exeter (1990-93) Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Geography

Jamie is a geomorphologist with particular interests in the nature and impacts of Quaternary environmental change in the Mediterranean region and the Nile basin. A good deal of his work takes place in close collaboration with archaeologists and he is interested in the theoretical and practical interface between geography, geoscience and archaeology. Jamie is currently working on two projects in the Nile Valley of Northern Sudan with archaeologists from the British Museum exploring the relationship between human activity and environmental change over the last 10,000 years or so. This work is funded by the Australian Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust. You will find a report on some of this work from the 2011 field season here. Public outreach is an important part of his work: Jamie worked closely with colleagues at the Manchester Museum on the Ancient Worlds galleries which opened in late 2012. He has been the Editor of Geoarchaeology: An International Journal since 2007. In 2008 he was awarded a personal chair – the first in Physical Geography at The University of Manchester. With other colleagues in Geography he set up the Quaternary Environments and Geoarchaeology Research Group in late 2004. This cluster forms a key part of Physical Geography research and teaching at Manchester. Jamie has just completed The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction for Oxford University Press.

Research interests

Jamie is a geomorphologist and geoarchaeologist with particular interests in the nature and impacts of Quaternary environmental change in the Mediterranean and the Nile basin. A good deal of his work takes place in close collaboration with archaeologists and he is interested in the theoretical and practical interface between geography, geoscience and archaeology.

His PhD formed part of the Klithi Project in Epirus, Northwest Greece, directed by Geoff Bailey. A good deal of Jamie's PhD research has been published in five chapters in the seminal Klithi project monographs.

The Mediterranean landscape contains some of the best records of long-term change available anywhere on Earth. In addition, the richness of the cultural records allows human-environment interactions to be studied in unusual detail and often over very long timescales.

Jamie works in a range of geomorphological environments in the Mediterranean and in the Nile basin. He is especially interested in developing geochronologies (using, for example, OSL, radiocarbon and uranium series techniques) for sedimentary archives of change across a range of timescales. Another key interest involves the development of sediment sourcing methods to improve our understanding of past geomorphological systems at a range of spatial scales. This involves mega-scale work in the Nile basin (>3 million km 2 ) using strontium isotopes as well as smaller scale tracing studies including, for example, work in the Voidomatis River basin in NW Greece (<400 km 2 ) where XRF has been used to identify the source of Pleistocene slackwater sediments to considerably enhance our understanding of the palaeoflood record. Click on the Publications tab to view some of the outcomes of this work.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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