Miguel Ángel Cau

Universitat de Barcelona (UB)


I am an archaeologist focused on the Late Antique Mediterranean and in the archaeometry of archaeological ceramics. After obtaining my PhD (1998) at the University of Barcelona, I was a postdoctoral GEOPRO TMR-EU Research Fellow (1998-2001) at the Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield (UK). I returned to Catalonia with a Return Grant of the Generalitat de Catalunya (2001-2002). I was researcher for the EU project CERAMED (2003) and ICREA Research Professor since 2003. I am co-founder and current director of the Equip de Recerca Arqueològica i Arqueomètrica, University of Barcelona (ERAAUB). I have participated in national and international projects such as GEOPRO, CERAMED and Progetto Classe working in the World Heritage site of Ravenna. I am co-founder of the international conference LRCW, and of the series Roman and Late Antique Mediterranean Pottery (RLAMP) and Limina/Limites: Archaeologies, histories, islands and borders in the Mediterranean (365-1556).

Research interests

I have specialised in the study of archaeological ceramics to investigate their provenance, technology of production and distribution using physico-chemical, mineralogical and petrographic techniques. I have a broad interest in the analytical study of ceramic materials including the theoretical foundations of the discipline and in ceramic etnhoarchaeology and ethnoarchaeometry. I have a main interest in Late Antique Archaeology and in pottery in the Mediterranean, especially in the study of coarse and cooking wares. One of my aims is also to investigate the transformation of the Roman world with a particular interest in Mediterranean island systems. I am scientific director of archaeological and ceramic ethnoarchaeology expeditions in the Balearics and Sardinia, including the excavations at the Roman and Late Antique city of Pollentia and the Early Christian complexes of Son Peretó (Mallorca) and Illa del Rei (Menorca).

Selected publications

– Fantuzzi L, Cau Ontiveros MÁ & Aquilué X 2016, ‘Archaeometric characterisation of amphorae from the Late Antique city of Emporiae (Catalonia, Spain)’, Archaeometry, 58, supplement S1, 1–22. doi: 10.1111/arcm.12176.

– Pecci A, Degl’Innocenti E, Giorgi G, Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Cantini F, Solanes Poltrony E, Alós C & Miriello D 2016, ‘Organic residue analysis of experimental and Mediaeval and Post Mediaeval archaeological glazed ceramics’, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 8 (4): 879-890.

– Pecci A, Gabrieli S, Inserra F, Cau MÁ & Waksman SY 2016, ‘Preliminary results of the organic residue analysis of 13th century cooking wares from a household in Frankish Paphos (Cyprus)’, STAR Science and Technology of Archaeological Research, 1 (2):   1-7.

– Ranieri G, Godio A, Loddo F, Stocco S, Casas A, Capizzi P, Messina P, Orfila M, Cau MÁ & Chavez E 2016, ‘Geophysical prospection of the Roman city of Pollentia, Alcudia (Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain)’, Journal of Applied Geophysics, 134: 125 – 135.

– Valenzuela A, Baker K, Carden RF, Evans J, Higham T, Rus Hoelzel A, Lamb A, Madgwick R, Miller H, Alcover JA, Cau MÁ & Sykes N 2016, ‘Both introduced and extinct: The fallow deer of Roman Mallorca’, Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, 9: 168-167.

– Valenzuela A, Cau MÁ & Alcover JA 2016, ‘Archaeological evidence for the introduction of Emys orbicularis (Testudines: Emydidae) in the Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean’, Amphibia-reptilia, 37 (2): 229 – 236.

– Vallori Márquez B, Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Orfila Pons M 2016, ‘The small temples in the forum of Pollentia (Mallorca, Balearic Islands)’, Mélanges de l’Ecole Française de Rome. Antiquité, 128-1: 2-25.

Selected research activities

PI of the projects Late Roman Pottery in the Western Mediterranean; exploring regional and long-distance trade through experimental sciences and the project Remote Sensing, Geophysical Survey and Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the Mallorcan countryside from Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages.