Rosa María Albert

Rosa María Albert

Universitat de Barcelona


I am an archaeologist working in Microarchaeology, the study of the invisible record, to understand the relationship between humans and plants from a long-term perspective. I obtained my PhD in Archaeology from the UB in 1999 after 3 years at the Weizmann Inst of Science working with Prof. S.Weiner. I pioneered in applying quantitative and morphological phytolith analyses to Prehistoric sites aiming to shed new light on the use of fire by past populations. From 2005/13 I founded and directed GEPEG recognized as Quality Research Group by Catalan Government. At pesent, I amb responsible for the Paleoenvironment and Paleovegetation (PALEO) research area within ERAAUB (UB). In 2011 I created PhytCore, the most extensive online phytolith database to date. I have directed more than 20 research projects and written more than 100 papers (80 SCI). Since 2018 I co-direct the European Advanced research grant TerrACE to study the use of cultivated plants. 

Research interests

My research interest aims at better understanding the relationship between humans and plants from a long-term perspective. To this end, I focus my research on the reconstruction of the vegetation of human occupied landscapes, the human use of plant resources, which includes the study of fire, agricultural and herding practices and their impact on the landscape. To do this, I use a multi-proxi approach based on mineralogical analyses of archaeological and closely related sediments and preserved archaeological tools, and analyze their microscopic components, to identify plant remains (phytoliths, starches, calcium oxalates) and other biological microremains (diatoms, sponge spicules, chrysophytes, spherulites). In later years, I have also devoted part of my time to develop digital platforms to exchange databases to improve dissemination of microarchaeological research (

Selected publications

- Esteban I, Marean C, Cowling R, Fisher R, Cabanes D & Albert RM 2020, 'Palaeoenvironments and plant availability during MIS 6 to MIS 3 on the edge of the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain (south coast, South Africa) as indicated by phytolith analysis at Pinnacle Point. 
Special issue: The Palaeo-Agulhas Plain. A lost world and Extinct Ecosystem', Quaternary Science Reviews, 235, 105667.

- Rodriguez-Cintas A, Albert RM, Bamford MK, Stanistreet IG, Stollhofen H, Stone JR, Rivera-Rondon C, Pronzato R, Njau JK, Schick K & Toth N 2020, 'Palaeovegetation changes recorded in Palaeolake Olduvai OGCP Core 2A (2.09-2.12 Ma) Naibor Soit Formation Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania', Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 557, 109928.

- Weiner S, Regev L, Texel I, Asscher Y, Albert RM, Yan X, Natalio F, Boaretto E & Nagorsky A 2020, 'High Temperature Pyrotechnology: A Macro- and Microarchaeology Study of a Late Byzantine-beginning of Early Islamic period (7th century AD) Pottery Kiln from Tel Qatra/Gedera, Israel', Journal Of Archaeological Science-reports, 31, 102263.

- Esteban I, Albert RM, Cabanes D & Marean C 2020, 'Estratègies de recol·lecció de plantes i paleoambients durant la Middle Stone Age a Pinnacle Point (costa sud de Sud-àfrica): les anàlisis de fitòlits', Servei d’Arqueologia i Paleontologia. Direcció General del Patrimoni Cultural. Tribuna d’arqueología, 2016-2017, pp-29-51. 

Selected research activities


Hoare, S., Albert, R.M. Examining Quaternary East African palaeoenvironmental change and its relevance to hominin occupation of Kilombe caldera. RAI. Anthropology and Geography: Dialogues Past, Present and Future Conference. 14-18 Sep 2020.

 Albert, R.M. Paleoenvironment and plant cultivation on Agricultural terraces: the phytolith evidence. 2nd TerrACE Workshop. Soave (Italy), 14-18 Feb 2020.