researcher

Catherine Batt

Senior Lecturer

RoleSenior Lecturer
Faculty/Dept/SchoolFaculty of Life Sciences / School of Archaeological & Forensic Sci
EmailC.M.Batt@bradford.ac.uk
Telephone+441274233533

Biography

Cathy is an archaeological scientist with a focus developing methods for dating archaeological materials and integrating the outcomes within large scale collaborative archaeological projects to produce a better understanding of the human past.
She studied Natural Science (Physics and Archaeology) at the University of Durham, followed by a PhD in archaeomagnetic dating at the Universities of Sheffield and Durham, in collaboration with York Archaeological Trust. She has been at the University of Bradford since 1992 in a variety of roles, most recently as Senior Lecturer in Archaeological Sciences since 2001.




Teaching

Teaching interests

My teaching is characterised by two main approaches:  

Research led teaching. Much of my teaching, particularly at higher levels, draws on case studies and examples from my own research. For example in Archaeometry (ARC7035-B), students use radiocarbon dates and archaeological information from a site I have worked on and produce a site chronology using Bayesian analytical software. This approach gives them a direct insight into the practical application of the theory I have taught them and develops skills requested by employers.

Student led approaches.  I ensure that students are engaged and active learners. I have found an effective way of achieving this is through peer supported learning. For example, in Professional Development (ARC7041-B), I facilitate workshops in which students critique each other’s research designs for postgraduate projects, using Research Council criteria. In laboratory classes within Laboratory Science (ARC5004-B), students work in small groups to interpret the data they have collected, before contributing to full class discussion.




Research

I am an archaeological scientist with a focus developing methods for dating archaeological materials and integrating the outcomes within large scale collaborative archaeological projects to produce a better understanding of the human past.

My laboratory in Bradford is the most productive archaeomagnetic laboratory in the UK. I measure the magnetic properties of archaeological materials and use this information to date them and to infer changes in the past geomagnetic field. This research integrates the fundamental physics of magnetic materials and their measurements, with a detailed understanding of archaeological formation processes and the anthropogenic activities which influence magnetic properties (Batt et al., 2017, 2008; Peters and Batt, 2002). I have also developed Bayesian statistical approaches to combine archaeomagnetic, radiocarbon and luminescence dates with artefactual and stratigraphic information to produce multi-method site chronologies (Card et al., 2018; Batt et al., 2017; Rhodes et al., 2003) which leads to significantly improved precision in dating.

There are a number of key research audiences.  I work with multinational teams of academics to produce detailed site chronologies for example in Iran and Georgia (Batt et al., in press; Batt and Greenwood, 2013), Sri Lanka (Coningham et al., 2013; Coningham and Batt, 2009), Pakistan (Coningham and Batt, 2007), Shetland (Outram and Batt, 2010; Batt and Dockrill, 2008) and Orkney (Card et al., 2018). My research also produces a better understanding the geomagnetic field and associated earth systems, essential in modelling past geomagnetic change and its implications for climate change (Clelland and Batt, 2012; Zananiri et al., 2008). Along with my research team, I also provide a commercial dating service which is used by archaeological companies associated with rail, road and construction developments and heritage groups. Typically I provide initial advice to about 10 projects a year of which 2-3 will result in further work.

My research has pioneered the use of archaeomagnetic dating in UK archaeology for the last 25 years, from my earliest publications on statistical approaches (Batt, 1998, 1997) to recent papers describing new approaches (Batt et al., 2017). I have been directly involved in advising both Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland in drawing up guidelines for scientific dating.