Rosa María Albert

Universitat de Barcelona


I defended my PhD in Archaeology 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 sites to identify fuel and collecting strategies. In 2005 I received the Blecua Award (UB). Along these years I have focused on reconstructing the vegetation at different 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, the most extensive phytolith database to date. I have directed more than 20 research projects and written more than 100 papersand and 76 technical reports. From 2005 until 2013 I founded and directed GEPEG recognized as Quality Research Group by Catalan Government. At present, I am responsible for the "Paleoenvironmental and paleovegetation" research area within ERAAUB. 

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 Human 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:, the most extensive database integrating different research centers and universities phytolith databases.

Selected publications

- Esteban I, de Vinck J, Singles E, Vlok J, Marean CW, Cabanes D & Albert RM 2017, 'Modern soil phytolith assemblages used as proxies for paleoscape reconstruction on the South Coast of South Africa', Quaternary International Journal, 434, B, 160-179.

- Alonso-Eguíluz M, Fernández-Eraso J & Albert RM 2017, 'The first herders in the upper Ebro Basin at Los Husos II (Álava, Spain): microarchaeology applied to foumier deposits', Vegetation History and Archaeobotany journal, 26, 1, 143-157.

- Devos Y, Nicoisa C, Vrydaghs L, Speleers L, Van der Valk J, Marinova E, Claes B, Albert RM, Esteban I, Ball TB, Court-Picon M & Degraeve A 2017, 'An integrated study of Dark Earth from the alluvial valley of the Senne river (Brussels, Belgium)', Quaternary International Journal, 460, 175 - 197.

- Esteban I, Vlok J, Kotina E, Bamford M, Cowling R, Cabanes D & Albert RM 2017, 'Phytoliths in plants from the south coast of the Greater Cape Floristic Region (South Africa)', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 245, pp 69-84.

Selected research activities

- Member of the International Committe for Phytolith Taxonomy (2017)

- Research Associate of the Centre for Coastal Paleosciences of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU)

-Organizer of the: Workshop on Diatoms: Biologia y taxonomia de diatomeas: Bases para su uso en la reconstrucción ambiental. 12-16 de Junio de 2017. Course given by Prof. Carlos Alberto Rivera-Rondon (Universidad Pontifica Javeriana, Colombia).

-Organizer of the Round Table: Modern Human behavior. Archaeological evidence from Coastal South Africa and Iberian Peninsula. 27th October 2017. Talks given by Profs. Curtis Marean (Arizona State University, USA) and Joao Zilhao (ICREA, University of Barcelona).

- Participation in the field excavations at: Crevina-Stieja (Montenegro): May-June 2017; Pollentia (Alcúdia, Mallorca): 1-9 July 2017; Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania): 14-22 July 2017; Mughr el-Hamamah (jordan): 23-30 July 2017