Marco Madella

Marco Madella

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


I am ICREA Research Professor at the Department of Humanities, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where I coordinate the Culture, Archaeology and Socio-Ecological Dynamics research group and the newly established UPF Centre for Digital Humanities. I hold honorary professorships in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and the Center for Archaeology, Heritage & Museum Studies, Shiv Nadar University, India. I have been an ICREA at the IMF-CSIC Barcelona, Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Director of Studies in Archaeology and Anthropology at St. Edmund's College (University of Cambridge) as well as visiting professor at University of Sheffield, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (Japan) and J Nehru University (India). Over the last twenty years I have been awarded several international grants from the EU and Spanish/Catalan governments and BBVA, Palarq and Arcadia foundations.

Research interests

My background is in archaeobotany and environmental archaeology, and I am interested in understanding the socio-ecological dynamics of past human populations in extreme environments such as hyper-humid and arid/semi-arid, from the Mediterranean to the tropics. My interests span from past vegetation histories and land use, the modelling and simulation of processes in human behavioural change, people-plants co-evolutionary dynamics, long term trajectories of biodiversity and sustainability in prehistoric societies, and the origin and resilience of agriculture. Ancient agriculture, which is one of my main areas of interest, had an immense impact on humans and non-humans, and the future of our world is linked to making current agricultural system sustainable by maintaining biodiversity, re-evaluating traditional knowledge and mitigating environmental impact. My work in archaeobotany is playing a key role in developing such lines of investigation. A new research avenue that I have been developing during the last few years is that of identifying, monitoring and protecting heritage using remote sensing and modeling approaches. Key areas for my work are South and West Asia, and South America. I carry out fieldwork in Pakistan as PI of the ModAgrO project and in Colombia/Brazil as PI of the MAPHSA project.

Selected publications

- Madella M & Lancelotti C 2022, 'Archaeobotanical perspectives on water supply and water management in the Indus Valley Civilization', in S Rost (ed) Irrigation in Early States - New Directions, The Oriental Institute, Chicago, pp 113-136

- Garcia-Granero JJ, Suryanarayan A, Cubas M, Craig OE, Cardenas M, Ajithprasad P & Madella M 2022, 'Integrating Lipid and Starch Grain Analyses From Pottery Vessels to Explore Prehistoric Foodways in Northern Gujarat, India', Frontiers In Ecology And Evolution, 10, 840199.

- D'Agostini F, Vadez V, Kholova J, Ruiz-Pérez J, Madella M & Lancelotti C 2022, 'Understanding the Relationship between Water Availability and Biosilica Accumulation in Selected C-4 Crop Leaves: An Experimental Approach', Plants (Basel), 11, 8, 1019.

- Madella M, Korisettar R, Rajala U, Ruiz-Giralt A, Lancelotti C & Parque O 2022, 'Surveying and Collecting Integrated Data for the Neolithic Ashmounds of Southern India', in Korisettar R, Beyond Stones and More Stones, Mythic Society, Bengaloru, pp. 96-119.

- Angourakis A, Alcaina-Mateos J, Madella M & Zurro D 2022, 'Human-Plant Coevolution: A modelling framework for theory-building on the origins of agriculture', PlosOne, 17, 9.

- Silva F, Coward F, et al. 2022, 'Developing Transdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainability Challenges: The Need to Model Socio-Environmental Systems in the Longue Durée', Sustainability, 14 (16), art. no. 10234.

- Gregorio de Souza J, Ruiz-Pérez J, Lancelotti CMadella M 2022, 'Environmental effects on the spread of the Neolithic crop package to South Asia. PLoS ONE 17(7): e0268482.