Rosa María Albert

Universitat de Barcelona (UB)


Archaeologist, I defended my PhD at the U. of Barcelona in 1999 after 3 years at the Weizmann Inst of Science. I pioneered in applying quantitative and morphological phytolith analyses to Prehistoric hearths to identify fuel uses and collecting strategies. As a result I received in 2005 the Blecua Award (UB). During all these years I have focused on reconstructing the vegetation at different hominid sites such as Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania), being one of the first to use a combined study of modern soils and plants to identify past vegetation. In 2011 I created PhytCore, presently the most extensive phytolith database, covering different geographical and chronological frameworks. I have directed more than 20 research projects and written more than 90 papers and 75 technical reports. In 2005 I founded the Research Group for Paleoecological and Geoarchaeological Studies (GEPEG) recognized as Quality Research Group by Catalan Government which I directed until December 2013.

Research interests

Until December 2013 I conducted my research through GEPEG Research Group. Since January 2014 GEPEG was integrated into the Research Group for Archaeometry and Archaeology of the University of Barcelona (ERAAUB). From ERAAUB I will continue my research on: i) The study of Fire in Prehistory. ii) Paleoenvironmental reconstruction during African Hominin Evolution. iii) Agriculture and domestication practices in the Levant. iv) Plant uses and landscape at the Balearic Islands, collaborating with Prof. Miguel Ángel Cau on the roman site of Pollentia. iv) Anthropogenic impact on the environment. This is a new and most exciting line of research addressed to understand the effect of human activities on the surrounding landscape. v) Development of digital platforms to exchange databases to improve archaeological research. For this I developed PhytCore:

Selected publications

– Haberman J, Stanistreet IG, Stollhofen H, Albert RM, Bamford MK, Pante M, Njau JK & Masao FT 2016, ‘In situ -2.0 Ma trees discovered as fossil rooted stumps, lowermost Lower Bed I, Olduvai Gorge’, Journal of Human Evolution, 90, 74-87.

Albert RM & Esteban I 2016, ‘What early human populations were eating? The use of phytoliths for identifying plant remains in the archaeological record’, In Hardy K & Martens KL (Eds.) ‘Wild harvest: Plants in the Hominin and Pre-Agrarian  Human worlds’, chapter 9, part 2: Plant foods, tools and people. Series: Studying Scientific Archaeology 2, Owbox, Oxford.

– Polo-Díaz A, Alonso-Eguiluz M, Perez-Diaz S, Ruiz-Alonso M, Mujika JA, Albert RM & Fernandez-Eraso J 2016, ‘Management of residues and natural resources at San Cristóbal rock-shelter: contribution to the characterisation of chalcolithic agropastoral groups in the Iberian Peninsula’, Quaternary Internationa Journal, 414, 202 – 225.

– Boixadera J, Riera S, Vila S, Esteban I, Albert RM, Llop JM & Poch R 2016, ‘Buried A horizons in old bench terraces in Les Garrigues (Catalonia)’, Catena, 137, 635-650.

Albert RM, Ruíz JA & Sans A 2016, ‘PhytCore ODB: a new tool to improve efficiency in the management and exchange of information on Phytoliths’, Journal of Archaeological Science, 68, 98-105.

– Daura J, Sanz, M, Ramos J, Riera S, Miras Y, Allue E, Picornell L, López-Reyes D, Albert RM, Macia L, Domenech R, Martinell J, Fornós JJ & Julià R 2016, ‘Palaeoenvironmental record of the Cal Maurici wetland sediment archive in Barcelona (NE Iberian Peninsula) between VI and IV millenia cal. yr BP’, Holocene Journal, 26, 7, 1020 – 1039.