Dr Abi Stone

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

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I am interested in dryland (desert) environments, and their interaction with climate. I investigate these climatic changes by studying the landscape (dryland geomorphology), sediments (sands and carbonates), and ground water chemistry (hydrogeology) and through applying luminescence dating and U-Th dating as geochronological methods. I am currently working with international teams:

(i) to provide a new chronology for key archaeological sites in the Mokopane region, Limpopo, South Africa (Partrick Randolph-Quinney - Northumberland, Anthony Sinclair - Liverpool, Simon Armitage - Royal Holloway University of London)

(ii) to provide a chronology and environmental reconstruction for early Hominin adaptations in arid landscapes of the Namib desert (George Leader - The College of New Jersey, USA Ted Marks -Iowa, USA, Rachel Bynoe - University of Southampton, Dominic Stratford - University of the Witwatersand, South Africa, Ms Esfraim - National Museum of Namibia, Eugene Marais - Gobabeb Research Institute, Namibia, Rachel Smedley - University of Liverpool);

(iii) to develop the utility of the portable luminescence reader (Mark Bateman -Sheffied, David Sanderson - Glasgow),

(iv) to reconstruct the palaeoenvironment and climate of western Saudi Arabia associated with stone age lithic technology (Robyn Inglis - York, Anthony Sinclair - Liverpool, Diana Sahy - BGS, Abdullah Alsharekh - King Saud University Saudi Arabia),

(v) to explore the use of chemical tracers as novel proxies for environmental change and records of groundwater recharge and quality (Andi Smith - BGS, Yijian Zeng - Utwente). 


At the University of Manchester I teach on the MSc in Environmental Change and Reconstruction, in the core module about Straigraphy and Geochronology. I convene a third year (and MSc) option module about Dryland Environments, second year options in Quaternary Science and in Geomorphology and contribute to Physical Geography teaching within the first year programme (Dynamic Earth core module). I also contribute to cross-disciplinary courses (Decolonising Geographies at third year and Environmental Governance and Geographies of Outer Space for the MSc in Environmental Governance). 



Abi Stone is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Manchester with expertise in Quaternary environmental change, geochronology, hydrogeology and geomorphology in dryland environments. She has long been intrigued by how the environment operates, and with a surname like ‘Stone’ it was difficult to avoid a career path involving geography. Abi's undergraduate degree was a BA in Geography at the University of Oxford, graduating with a First Class Honours in 2003. Having become fascinated by past climate, environmental change and glowing sand grains (luminescence dating) she then moved to Royal Holloway, University of London to undertake an MSc in Quaternary Science (awarded with Distinction in 2004). Abi's doctoral research investigated sand dunes, relict fluvial systems and carbonate tufa deposits in Namibia as proxies for Quaternary environmental change (awarded in 2009 from the University of Oxford). She remained at the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford undertaking post-doctoral research on palaeoenvironmental change in the Kalahari Desert and Namib Sand Sea and working for Prof. Heather Viles and English Heritage on soft wall capping to preserve built stone heritage. From 2007 to 2011 Abi taught undergraduate geography as a Stipendiary Lecturer across a number of colleges. She was an Early Career Fellow at St John’s College, University of Oxford from 2011 to 2014 and from 2012 concurrently an MSc Teaching Fellow for the Water Science, Policy and Management MSc (for which she still contributes as an invited guest lecturer).



  • 2018 - present: Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of Manchester.
  • 2015 - 2018: Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of Manchester.
  • 2012 - 2014: Early Career Fellow in Physical Geography and MSc Teaching Fellow (St John's College and School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford). 
  • 2011 - 2012: Senior Stipendiary Lecturer in Physical Geography (University of Oxford). 
  • 2009 - 2011: Post-doctoral research assistant and tutor (part-time) (University of Oxford). 


  • 2005-2009: DPhil Geography, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. 
  • 2003-2004: MSc Quaternary Science, Royal Holloway University of London.
  • 2000-2003: BA (MA) Geography chool of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. 

Administrative duties - University of Manchester

  • MERI Earth History Palaeoenvironments and Archaeology Theme Champion (2018 - present) 
  • QEG Research Group Convener (2017 - present) 
  • First Year Adviser/ Year Group Leader (2016 - present) (2019 awarded innovator of the year for 2018-2019 Peer Support Programme) 
  • Co-director of Undergraduate Admissions for Geography (2015-2016)

Administrative duties - External 

  • External Examiner for BSc Geography, Univeristy of Gloucestershire (2017-2021) 
  • Executive Committee Member and Editor of the QN for the QRA (Quaternary Research Association) (2016-2020)
  • Secretary of SASQUA (South African Quaternary Research Association) (2017-2019) 


External positions

External Examiner, University of Gloucestershire

1 Jun 201730 Sep 2021

Visiting Lecturer, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

1 Sep 2014 → …

Areas of expertise

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

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