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, 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

Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Martinez Farreras V, Pecci A, Mas Florit C & Fantuzzi L 2018, ‘Archaeometric Analysis for Provenance and Content of Roman Amphorae from the Site of Sa Mesquida (Mallorca, Spain)’, Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry, 18, 2, 87-105.

– Fantuzzi L & Cau Ontiveros MÁ 2018, ‘Archaeometric characterisation of amphorae from the Late Antique city of Iluro (Mataró, Spain)‘, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 21, 1079-1090.

– Fantuzzi L & Cau Ontiveros MÁ 2018, ‘Archaeometric analysis of Late Roman amphorae from Africa in the ancient city of Iluro (Mataro, Catalonia, Spain)’, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 10, 4, 759-780.

– Mas Florit C, Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Meyer C, Goossens L, Sala R & Ortiz, H 2018, ‘Geophysical survey of two rural sites in Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain): unveiling Roman villae’, Journal of Applied Geophysics, 150, 101-117.

– Riutort J, Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Roig Buxó J 2018, ‘Archaeometric characterisation of regional Late Roman Cooking Wares from the area of Vallés (Catalonia, Spain): the case of two rural sites‘, Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, 21, 1091-1102.

– Tsantini E, Minami T, Takahashi K & Cau Ontiveros MÁ 2018, ‘Analysis of sulphur isotopes to identify the origin of cinnabar in the Roman wall paintings from Badalona (Spain)’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 18, 300-307.

Selected research activities

Fieldwork in 2018 in Mallorca (Balearic Islands): Excavations at the Roman city of Pollentia, Geophysical surveys of rural sites, Excavations at the early Christian complex of Son Peretó.

PI of the project Archaeology, Remote Sensing, and Archaeometry: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Landscapes and Ceramics from the Roman to the Medieval Period in Mallorca (Balearic Islands) (ARCHREMOTELANDS) (HAR2017-83335-P).