Miguel Ángel Cau

Universitat de Barcelona


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

Research interests

I am a Mediterranean archaeologist with a major focus on Roman and Late Antique Archaeology, and in pottery studies especially in the analysis of coarse and cooking wares. One of my main interests is to investigate the transformation of the Roman world with a particular interest in Mediterranean islands. I am scientific director of excavations, surveys, and ceramic ethnoarchaeology expeditions in the Balearics and Sardinia. I am leading 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). I have specialised in the study of archaeological ceramics to investigate their provenance, technology of production, distribution and consumption 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 the study of living pottery-making traditions.

Selected publications

– Albero Santacreu D & Cau Ontiveros MÁ 2017, ‘Technological Choices in Hand-Made Indigenous Pottery from Western Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) (C.1200-75 BC): An Archaeometric Approach’, Archaeometry, 59 (4): 642 – 666.

Cau MÁ, Van Strydonck M, Boudin M, Mas Florit C, Mestres JS, Cardona F, Chávez MªE & Orfila M 2017, ‘Christians in a Muslim World? Radiocarbon dating of the cemetery over the forum of Pollentia (Mallorca, Balearic Islands)‘, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 9 (7): 1529–1538.

– Fantuzzi L & Cau Ontiveros MÁ 2017, ‘Investigating the provenance of Baetican Amphorae Dressel 23: new archaeometric evidence from Late Roman consumption centres’, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, 17 (1): 47 – 68.

– Giame M, Morhange C, Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Fornós J, Vacchi M & Marriner N 2017, ‘In search of southern Pollentia’s harbor: geoarchaeological evidence from the bay of Alcúdia‘, Paleo3, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 466, 184–201.

– Olcese G, Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Fantuzzi L, Razza A, Surace DM & Tsantini E 2017, ‘Le anfore del contesto augusteo della ruota idraulica di Ostia Antica: archeologia e archeometria’, Archeologia Classica, LXVIII: 197-224​.

– Tsantini E, Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Montana G & Randazzo L 2017, ‘The production of traditional building materials in Oristano (Sardinia, Italy)‘, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 9 (7): 1495 – 1513.

– Valenzuela A, Cau Ontiveros MÁ & León MªJ 2017, ‘Broadening the scope of bone anvils: direct AMS 14C dating from the island of Menorca (Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean)’, Radiocarbon, 59 (1): 61–67.

– Valenzuela A, Alcover JA & Cau MA 2017, ‘The impact of Roman conquest on the pattern of livestock exploitation on the Balearic Islands’, Archaeofauna, 26, 127 – 142.

Selected research activities

– Director of ERAAUB, Consolidated Research Group.

– PI of the project LRPWESTMED.

– Archaeological excavations at the Roman city of Pollentia, and the late antique site of Son Peretó (Mallorca, Spain).