Miguel Ángel Cau

Miguel Ángel Cau

Universitat de Barcelona


I am an archaeologist focused on Roman and Late Antique Mediterranean archaeology and archaeometry. After my Ph.D. (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 an ICREA Research Professor since 2003 and current director of the ERAAUB Research Unit and of the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Barcelona (IAUB). I have participated in national and EU projects, such as GEOPRO, CERAMED, and Progetto Classe (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 have a major research interest in Roman and Late Antique Archaeology, and in pottery studies especially in the analysis of coarse and cooking wares. I have specialised in the application of physico-chemical, mineralogical and petrographic techniques to the study of ceramics to investigate their provenance, technology, distribution, and consumption. I have a broad interest in the analytical study of ceramics, including the theoretical foundations of the discipline and the study of living pottery-making traditions. One of my main research interests is to investigate the transformation of the Roman world, particularly on Mediterranean islands. I am currently leading excavations at the Roman and Late Antique city of Pollentia, the Christian complex of Son Peretó (Mallorca), the exceptional Late Roman shipwreck of Ses Fontanelles, as well as field surveys, and ceramic ethnoarchaeology expeditions in the Balearics and Sardinia. I am also working at the Roman villa of Llorís (Lleida).

Selected publications

- Riera Rullan M, Cau Ontiveros MÁ & Salas Burguera M (eds) 2022, Excavaciones arqueológicas en el baptisterio de Son Peretó (Manacor, Mallorca, islas Baleares), Limina/Limites Series, Archaeopress, Oxford.

- Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Mas Florit C, Tsantini E & Fantuzzi L 2022, 'Exploring Roman and Late Roman Common Buff Wares from the rural site of Sa Mesquida (Mallorca, Balearic Islands): Continuity of local production?', J Archaeol Sci: Reports, 42, 103355.

- Munar Llabres S, Cardell J, de Juan C, Cau Ontiveros MÁ, Bernal-Casasola D, Picornell Ll & Garcia Riaza E 2022, 'Ses Fontanelles Shipwreck (Mallorca, Balearic Islands): An Exceptional Late Roman Vessel and Its Cargo', J Marit Archaeol, 17, 487–505

- Riutort J, Cau Ontiveros MÁ & Fantuzzi L 2022, 'Production and distribution of Late Antique utilitarian wares in the micro-region of Vallès (Catalonia, Spain): a perspective from the rural hinterland of Barcino', J Archaeol Sci: Reports, Volume 43, 103434.

- Rodríguez Nóvoa A, Fernández Fernández A, Fantuzzi L & Cau Ontiveros MÁ 2022, 'A singular ceramic type in Late Iron Age northwestern Iberian Peninsula: an archaeological and analytical approach", Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry,  22 (2): 169-188.

- Vallori Márquez B, Cau Ontiveros MÁ & Orfila Pons M 2022, 'La laguna de L’Albufera y la ciudad romana de Pollentia (Alcúdia, Mallorca): una primera aproximación', SPAL-revista de Prehistoria y Arqueología, 31 (2): 184-214,

- Walters VA et al. 2022, 'Portable Raman and XRF analyses of pigments in a 15th-century Mallorcan altarpiece from the Oratorio de Santa Ana in Alcúdia, Spain', J Archaeol Sci: Reports, 43, 103442.

Selected research activities

- Co-PI of the projects ARQUEOMALLORNAUTA (2021-2023) and ARQCERPOL (2022-2025).

- Co-director of the excavations of the Roman city of Pollentia, the early Christian site of Son Peretó, and Ses Fontanelles Late Roman shipwreck, all in the Balearics, and of the Roman villa of Llorís (Lleida).