Research Activities


Early Fire and Ancient Pyrotechnologies

2015/pres.  Project Title: “Investigating Urban Social Dynamics Using High Resolution Archaeology” - PI: Kevin Fisher, University of British Columbia. Sponsored by: Social Science and Humanity Research Council of Canada  - Research activity: Study of plaster and floor technology at the Late Bronze Age (LBA) Cypriot site of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios 1, Cyprus by micro stratigraphic analysis and FT-IR spectroscopy to obtain insights into Bronze Age urban planning and environmental impact of ancient industrial practices such as plaster production.


2014/pres.  Project Title: “Burrard inlet (BC) Pre-Contact Archaeology.” - PI: Jesse Morin, . Sponsored by: Tsleil-Waututh Nation - Research activity: Study of use of fire in two Pre-Contact sites in the Burrard inlet (Noons Creek and Indian River Rock shelter 3) by microstratigraphic analysis, phytolith analysis, and FT-IR spectroscopy.


2011/14  Project Description: Excavation at the Lower Paleolithic site of Qesem Cave, Israel- PIs: A. Gopher and R. Barkai Tel Aviv University. Sponsored by: Israel Science Foundation - Research activity: Investigation on early use of fire by microstratigraphic analysis and FT-IR micro-spectroscopy


2011   Project Description: Excavation at Middle Kingdom harbor site of Mersa/Wadi Gawasis, Egypt - PIs: Prof. K. Bard, Department of Archaeology, Boston University (US) and Prof. R. Fattovich, University of Naples “Orientale” (Italy). Sponsored by: Boston University (US) and University of Naples (Italy) - Research activity: Investigation of use of space and pyrotechnological activities by on-site microscopy and FT-IR spectroscopy.


2010  Project Description: Elbee Archaic Village, Stanton, North Dakota - PI: Prof. C. Roos, Department of Anthropology, SMU Dallas (US). Sponsored by: Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site - Research activity: Investigation on combustion features by microstratigraphic analysis and FT-IR micro-spectroscopy.


2007/ pres.   Project Description: Study of the combustion features at the Mousterian site of Oscurusciuto, Ginosa, Apulia (Italy) - PIs: Profs. A. M. Ronchitelli & P. Boscato, Dept of Environmental Science, University of Siena (Italy). Sponsored by: Italian Ministry for Education, Research and University. Research activity: Investigation on use of space and fire management by microstratigraphic analysis and FT-IR micro-spectroscopy


2004  Project Description: Early Stone Age site of Hadar AL 894 (North Ethiopia). PI: Prof Erella Hovers, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). Research activity: Investigating the potential use of fire by hominids.


2003/5 Project Description: Tel Dor excavation Project (Israel). - PI: Prof. Steve Weiner, Dept. of Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. - Sponsored by: Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Research activity: Reconstruction of human activities and use of space with particular emphasis on pyrotechnological practices.


Activity Areas, Use of Space, Paleoenvironment, and Site Formation

2015/pres.     Project Title: “Excavation at EjT4-a, Calvert Island (BC).” - PI: Farid Rahemtulla, University of Nortnern British Columbia. Sponsored by: Hakai Foundation  - Research activity: Study the site formation processes at the 7,500 years old coastal site EjT4-a by microstratigraphic analysis and FT-IR spectroscopy.


2013/ 15     Project Title: “Florisbad paleoenvironment reconstruction” - PI: James Brink, the National Museum, Bloemfontein (South Africa). Sponsored by: NRF African Origins Platform Grant to JSB (grant n. 82603), University of the Witwatersrand DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Paleosciences (CoE-Pal) (grant n. OP2015/25JB), Social Science and Humanity Research Council of Canada (Grant n: 430-2013-000546) - Research activity: Reconstruction of site formation processes, stratigraphy, and use of space by micro stratigraphic analysis, phytolith analysis, FT-IR and XRD spectroscopy.


2011/pres     Project Title: “Excavtions at Manot Cave” - PIs: Dr. O. Marder and Dr. O. Barzilai Israel Antiquity Authority and Prof. I. Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University. Sponsored by: Dan David Foundation. - Research activity: Reconstruction of site formation processes, stratigraphy, and use of the land by micro stratigraphic analysis and FT-IR. 


2010/11 Project Title: “Frequentazione tardo antiche e medievali a Grumentum (PZ)” - PIs: Prof. Attilio Mastrocinque, Universita’ di Verona, Italy. Sponsored by: Universita’ di Verona. - Research activity: Reconstruction of site formation processes, stratigraphy, and use of the land by micro stratigraphic analysis and FT-IR.


2007/ pres. Project Title: “Renewed Excavations at Beisamoun, a Pre-Pottery Neolithic Site in the Hula Valley, Israel” - PIs: F. Bocquentin, UMR 7041, C.N.R.S., Nanterre, (France) and H. Khalaily, Israel antiquity Authority, Jesrusalem, Israel. Sponsored by: C.N.R.S. - Research activity: Reconstruction of site formation processes, stratigraphy, and use of space by micro stratigraphic analysis, phytolith analysis, FT-IR and XRF spectroscopy.


2005/pres. Project Description: Mineralogical characterization of sediments and bone preservation at the Lower Palaeolithic site of Dmanisi (Georgia). - PI: L. Rook University of Florence Italy and R. Ferring University of North Texas USA- Sponsored by: Ministry of Foreign Office Italy and NSF Archaeology - Research activity: Study of the state of preservation of the mineral and organic phases of bone (fauna) and geochemical characterization of the associated sediments. Correlation of bone diagenesis with depositional environment for taphonomical studies. 


2008/09 Project Description: Geoarcheological investigation at the historical site Blake House, Dorchester MA, USA - PI: E. Berkland, City Archaeology Laboratory, Boston, MA USA. Sponsored by: City Archaeology Program, Department of Environment, City of Boston- Research activity: Investigation on stratigraphy and site formation processes by microstratigraphic analysis and FT-IR spectroscopy.


2007/08  Project Description: Excavation at the Early Bronze Age site of Afragola, Naples (Italy) - PIs: E. LaForgia and G. Boenzi, Sovrintendenza Beni Culturali e Ambientali di Napoli (Italy). Sponsored by: National Science Foundation and European Union. Research activity: Investigation on activity areas, use of space and household archaeology by microstratigraphic analysis and FT-IR micro-spectroscopy


2007 Project Description: Morphological and chemical characterization of organic rich anthropogenic sediments from Wyoming - PI: W. Eckerle at Western GeoArch Research, Llc, Salt Lake City UT. Sponsored by: Western GeoArch Research Llc - Research activity: Investigation on the composition and morphology of putative prehistoric features from site 48UT377 in Wyoming.


2005 Project Title: “Late Miocene of Tusco-Sardinian Bioprovinces”. - PI: Prof L. Rook, Dept of Earth Science, University of Florence, Italy. - Sponsored by: NSF “Revealing Hominid Origins Initiative” at the Human Evolution Research Center, University of California, Berkeley. - Research activity: Geochemical characterization of fossils and sediments at the Oreopithecus bambolii deposit of Fiume Santo, Northern Sardinia, Italy. 


2001 Project Title: “On the completeness of the fossil record: a study of the mineral phases that form in prehistoric caves”. - PI: Prof. S. Weiner, Department of Structural Biology Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel). - Sponsored by: Israeli Science Foundation (Contract No 302/00). - Research activity: Study of two main aspects of diagenesis in archaeological sites: 1) Thermodynamic stability of the bone mineral phase in archaeological context; 2) Archaeological implication of authigenic minerals formation in cave sediments (Kebara, Hayonim, Etzba, Ornit, -Israel) and in open-air sites (Tel Dor, -Israel).


1999-00 Project Title: “The use of Palaeosols for the reconstruction of the environment during the Calcolithic period in Southern Jordan”. - PI: Prof. F.C. Ugolini, Dept. of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, University of Florence, Italy. - Sponsored by: University of Florence and Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. - Research activity: Pedological studies of soils and palaeosoils associated to Calcolithic and Neolithic settlements in the Hisma basin, Southern Jordan.


1995-98 Project Description: Italian Interdisciplinary Mission in Southern Jordan. PI: Prof. E. Borzatti Von Loewenstern, Institute of Anthropology, University of Florence, Italy. Sponsored by: University of Florence and Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Research activity: Analysis of the lithic assemblage and architectural remains at the Pre-pottery Neolithic site of Jebel Arqa (Jordan). Experimental archaeology with flint perforators and beads.


Archaeometry 

2012-14 Project Title: High resolution FTIR and photoacoustic spectroscopy to distinguish particle size and crystallinity differences in geogenic, anthropogenic, biogenic, and synthetic carbonate and phosphate minerals PI: Prof. K. Poduska, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. CoPIs: F.Berna Boston University and L. Estroff Cornell University. Sponsored by: Canadian Light Source, University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Research activity: Use the high S/N properties of the synchrotron beam at high spatial resolution with FT-IR microscopy to study the impact of crystallinity on the FT-IR signal of carbonates and phosphates in thin section and powder forms


2011 Project Description: The Central Lydia Archaeological Survey - PI: Prof. C. Roosvelt, and Prof C. Luke, Dept. of Archaeology Boston. Sponsored by: National Science Foundation, Boston University Special Program for Research Initiation Grant, the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, the American Research Institute in Turkey- Research activity: Assessing the correlation between fingerprinting by in situ XRF analysis and quantitative chemical composition detemined by INAA to estabilish a portable XRF protocol to sorting and sourcing sherds in the field during survey and excavation.


2007/08 Project Description: Morphological and chemical characterization of paleofecal pellets from Paisley Cave, Oregon - PI: D. Jenkins, Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA. Sponsored by: Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR- Research activity: Investigation on the composition and morphology of putative human coprolites of pre-clovis era from Oregon micromorphological analysis and FT-IR micro-spectroscopy


2004 Project Title: “Cosmogenic Isotopes in Archaeological Science. Development of Flint Mining in Prehistory Based on the In Situ Accumulation of 10Be”. - PIs: Prof. S. Weiner and Dr. E. Boaretto, Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel). - Sponsored by: Minerva Stiftung Foundation (contract No 8483/2). - Research activity: Investigating if the raw material was mined or surface-collected by measuring 10Be and 26Al in flint objects from the Lower Palaeolithic site Qesem Cave (Israel).