Beatrice Demarchi

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Beatrice Demarchi


Dept Chemistry BioArCh

Biology S-Block

University of York
York YO 10 5YW

United Kingdom

+44 (0)1904 32 8824


PhD Research project


Dating hominin exploitation of Paleo- and Mesolithic coastal sites using amino acid racemisation


The project attempts to develop a method of dating shells from marine and coastal sites in an effort to improve a dating of sites which are important to the early habitation of hominins. Shells are biominerals, in which an organic (mainly proteic) matrix is deeply embedded in a calcium carbonate skeleton. The idea behind this project is to isolate a closed system in which proteins will decay under predictable conditions. Because the rate of decay is improved strongly by temperature it is hoped that these data can show climate changes occurred in the past. The plan is to analyze a number of coastal sites from around the world including the earliest modern humans in Britain, the last Neanderthal in Gibraltar and the earliest humans in South-East Asia.


This project is supervised by Dr Kirsty Penkman and Prof. Matthew Collins (BioArch – University of York)



Research interests

Coastal Archaeology & Chronology

Reconstructing the role of seashores on early human evolution and dispersal and how Quaternary climatic changes affected coastal environments. Developing a chronological framework for marine deposits in different areas of the world based on AAR dating in fossil shells.


Conservation Sciences

Scientific studies of the materials constituting an art/archaeological object

Application of science and technology to the conservation of cultural heritage and past material cultures


Past projects                       

Biodeterioration of plasters and coatings of the arcades of the City of Turin (2005-2006)

Characterisation of artificially-aged pictorial varnishes (natural and synthetic polymers)