Carla Lancelotti

Carla Lancelotti

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


I graduated in Archaeology at the University of Bologna and, after a Master in Archaeological Science at the University of Milan, I obtained my PhD in Archaeobotany from the University of Cambridge. In 2014 I co-funded the research group Culture Archaeology and Socio-Ecological Dynamics (CASEs), recognised by the Catalan Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) as an excellence group. In 2017 I was awarded a Starting grant from the ERC to work on the role of drought-tolerant crops on long-term resilience and adaptation to drylands (RAINDROPS ERC-Stg-2017, 759800). I am currently co-vicepresident of the Institutional Committe for Ethical Review of Projects at Univeristat Pompeu Fabra (CIREP) and from 2022 I am the director of the Centre for Studies on Planetary Wellbeing at Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Research interests

I am an archaeobotanist and quantitative archaeologist specialised in long-term human ecology of drylands. I combine methods from plant sciences, ethnography and archaeology with statistical analysis, modelling and simulation to study plant-related activities. Specifically, my work addresses the essential role of the so-called secondary resources (e.g., millets as foodstuff, dung as fuel, etc.) for the adaptation and resilience of past and present socio-ecological systems in drylands. I conduct research in South Asia, Europe, Near East, Africa and South America, covering a chronology that span from Early Neolithic to historic periods, with a special focus on South Asian Bronze Age and African late prehistory. I strongly believe in the importance of upholding Responsible Research and Innovation practices, by fully complying with the principles of ethical research, open access, civil society engagement and by incorporating a gender perspective to my work.

Selected publications

- D'Agostini F, Ruiz-Pérez J, Madella M, Vadez V, Kholova J & Lancelotti C 2023, 'Phytoliths as indicators of plant water availability: The case of millets cultivation in the Indus Valley civilization', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, vol. 309, pp 104783

- Ruiz-Giralt A, Biagetti S, Madella M & Lancelotti C 2023, 'Small-scale farming in drylands: New models for resilient practices of millet and sorghum cultivation', Plos One, 18, 2, e0268120.

- Kerfant C, Ruiz-Pérez J, García-Granero JJ, Lancelotti C, Madella M  & Karoune E 2023, 'A dataset for assessing phytolith data for implementation of the FAIR data principles', Scientific Data 10, 479.

- Varalli A, D'Agostini F, Madella M, Fiorentino G & Lancelotti C 2023, 'Charring effects on stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values on C4 plants: Inferences for archaeological investigations', Journal Of Archaeological Science, 156, 105821.

- Ruiz-Giralt A, Nixon-Darcus L, D’Andrea A.C., Meresa Y, Biagetti S & Lancelotti C 2023, 'On the verge of domestication: Early use of C4 plants in the Horn of Africa', Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, vol. 120, n. 27 e2300166120.

Selected research activities

In 2023 I received the Accreditation as Full Professor by the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency, AQU Catalunya.
I was co-PI of two research projects, one funded by MINECO and one by the EOSCL-Life consortium. I organised two international scientific seminars and delivered 4 keynote and invited talks in international conferences and seminars.
Two of the PhD candidates I supervised successfully passed their viva, obtaining the qualification cum laude and the international mention.
At the end of 2023 I was invited to become part of the editorial board of the Journal Cambridge Prisms: Drylands, published by Cambridge University Press.