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 papers and and 78 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

I am an archaeologist working on the palaeovegetation and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, through the study of vegetal microremains, in order to better understand the relationship between environment, humans and use of plants. My research focuses mostly on: i) The study of Fire in Prehistory, with special emphassis on Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. ii) Palaeoenvironmental 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. 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. I amb also a member of the International Committee for Phytolith Nomenclature. 

Selected publications

- Stanistreet IG, Stollhofen H, Njau JK, Farrugia P, Pante MC, Masao FT, Albert RM & Bamford MK 2018, 'Lahar inundated, modified, and preserved 1.88 Ma early hominin (OH24 and OH56) Olduvai DK site', Journal of Human Evolution 116, 27-42. 

- Esteban I,  Marean CW, Fisher EC, Karkanas P, Cabanes D & Albert RM 2018, 'Phytoliths as an indicator of early modern humans plant gathering strategies, fire fuel and site occupation intensity during the Middle Stone Age at Pinnacle Point 5-6 (south coast, South Africa)', Plos One, 13, 6, e0198558.

- de la Torre I, Albert RM, Macphail R, McHenry L, Pante M, Rodríguez-Cintas A, Stanistreet I & Stollhofen H 2018. The contexts and early Acheulean archaeology of the EF-HR landscape (Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania). Journal of Human Evolution 120, 274-297. 

- Albert RM, Bamford M, Stanistreet I, Stollhofen H, Rivera-Rondón C, Njau J & Blumenschine R 2018, 'River-fed wetlands in Bed I, HWK West locality, Olduvai Gorge, and Palaeoecological implications', Review of Paleobotany and Palynology, 259, 223-241. 

Selected research activities

Member of the ERC project: Terrace Archaeology and Culture in Europe (TerrACE). ERC-2017-ADG. Ref. number 787790. PI: Anthoni Brown (University of Southampton, United Kingdom).


Awarded with a Programa Salvador de Madariaga 2017 grant, PRX17/00324 to do research at the Dep. of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University  (SFU) (Jan 1- 30 June 2018).

Co-organizer of the Phytolith Workshop: Interpreting Phytoliths for Environmental and Archaeological Research. Dep. of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University (SFU), Burnaby, BC, Canadá, April 23-24, 2018. 

Member of Scientific Committee: 2ndFrontiers in Archaeological Sciences. Simon Fraser University (SFU), Burnaby, BC, Canadá, August 27-29, 2018. 

Video on Phytoliths given at the Archaeology Seminar Series on 8 March 2018, at the Dep. of Archaeology SFU (Canadá)