Rosa María Albert

Rosa María Albert

Universitat de Barcelona


I obtained a PhD in Archaeology from 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 for human fires and plant collecting strategies. In 2005 I received the Blecua Award (UB). My research focuses on reconstructing the vegetation from different sites such as Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania), applying a combined study of modern soils and plants. 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. From 2005-2013 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 and I participate, among others, in a European funded Project "Terrace" to study the use cultivated plants.

Research interests

I am an archaeologist working on 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 landscapes, including the study of prehistoric Terraces.   iv) Anthropogenic impact on the environment. v) Development of digital platforms to exchange databases. For this I developed PhytCore (, the most extensive database integrating different research centers and universities databases. I amb also a member of the International Committee for Phytolith Nomenclature who recently published the new International Code for Phytolith Nomenclature ICPN 2.0.

Selected publications

– Villaverde V, Real C, Roman D, Albert RM, Badal E, Bel MA, Bergadà M, de Oliveira P, Eixea A, Esteban I, Martínez A, Martínez Varea CM & Perez-Ripoll M 2019, ‘The Early Upper Palaeolithic of Cova de les Cendres’, Quaternary International, 515, 92-124.

– Neumann K, Stromberg C, Ball T, Albert RM, Vrydaghs L & Scott Cummings L 2019, ‘International Code for Phytolith Nomenclature (ICPN) 2.0‘, Annals of Botany, 124, 2, 189-199.

– Toffolo MB, Ritchie M, Sellers I, Morin J, Lyons N, Caldwell M, Albert RM, Letham B & Berna F 2019, ‘Combustion features from short-lived intermittent occupation at the 1300-year-old Coast Salish DjRr-4 rock shelter, British Columbia: the microstratigraphic data’, Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, 23, 646-661.

– Daura J, Sanz M, Oms FX, Pedro M, Martínez P, Mendiela S, Oliva Poveda M, Gibaja JF, Mozota M, Alonso-Eguiluz M, Albert RM, Allue E, Bañuls-Cardona S, Lopez-García JM, Santos Arévalo FJ & Fullola JM 2019, ‘Deciphering Neolithic activities from a Cardial burial site (Cova Bonica) on the western Mediterranean Coast. Journal of Archaeological Science‘, Reports, 23, 324-347.

Selected research activities

  • Stay at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel) working with Prof. Steve Weiner and Prof. Elisabetta Boaretto. Two conferences were given and one paper has been finished and accepted at JAS reports.
  • Publication of ICPN 2.0 (Neumann et al., 2919), which formulates the principles recommended for naming and describing phytoliths. An illustrated glossary of common terms for description is also provided.
  • Member of the Jury for the Catalonian National Research Awards of the Fundació Catalana per a la Recerca i Innovació.
  • 2019-2022 Research Associate at the Faculty of Science of the Centre for Coastal Paleosciences of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).
  • 2019-2022 Honorary Professor in the Evolutionary Sciences Institute (ESI). University of Witwatersrand (South Africa).