Professor Ian Simpson

Geography and Environmental Sciences


Soils, sediments and landscape change considers soil and sediment formations as Anthropoceneindicators (ICS-IUGS) and historical narratives defining resource utilisation and management by early societies together with their landscape consequences. These narratives are ‘read’ through innovative theoretical frameworks of landscape and new techniques in soils and sediments analyses including thin section micromorphology – SEM - EDX, soil biomarker analyses and modelling. Major soil classes UN-FAO (WRB, 2006) considered include anthrosols (including archaeo-sediments), technosols, podzols, fluvisols and andosols.

These analyses offer contributions to discussion on a) Long-term sustainabilities and resiliences, b) Place, heritage and identity and are applied into c) programmes of Citizen Geosciences. The scope of this work is inter-disciplinary, collaborative and international, set in the Stirling Centre for Environmental History and Policy. Research programmes have the strongest possible commitment to the development and publication record of research post-graduates and post-doctoral researchers.

Current major and long-term research programmes are focussed on creating geoarchaeology and environmental change narratives of:

  • The North Atlantic region (including study sites in Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Faroes, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles). Major themes are Pristine space to cultural place, Hybrid landscapes and Completed experiments in northern community resilience’s.
  • The South Asia region (including study sites in Sri Lanka, Nepal). Major themes are People of the ancient rainforests, Emergence of water management infrastructures and The Buddha’s natal landscape.
  • Shorter term programmes including Soils and livelihoods in Neolithic Iran; Historical ethnopedology in Sahelian Africa; Mapping and characterisation of plaggen anthrosols in north-west Europe; Soils and Neolithic ritual landscapes in Scotland, Industrial and Improvement landscape soil legacies in central Scotland.

See my publications here.

My projects: and Industrial Devon.


Telephone: +44 (0)1786 467850