Marco Madella

Marco Madella

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


I am an ICREA Research Professor in the Department of Humanities, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where I coordinate the Culture and Socio-Ecological Dynamics (CaSEs) research group. I also hold an Honorary Professorship in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and in the Center for Archaeology, Heritage & Museum Studies, Shiv Nadar University, India. Previously, I have been an ICREA at the IMF-CSIC in Barcelona, Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Lecturer at the Institute for Continuing Education (Madingly Hall), University of Cambridge, and Director of Studies in Archaeology and Anthropology at St. Edmund's College (University of Cambridge). Over the past twenty years I have been awarded grants and fellowships including those from the McDonald Institute (Cambridge), British Academy, Accademia della Crusca, European Union, Spanish Government, INQUA, BBVA and Palarq 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. Agriculture had an immense impact on humans and non-humans, and the future of our world is linked to making agriculture sustainable by maintaining biodiversity, re-evaluating traditional knowledge and mitigating environmental impact. Archaeology can play a key role in all these lines of investigation. 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.

Selected publications

- Orengo, Hector A.; Conesa, Francesc C.; Garcia-Molsosa, Arnau; Lobo, Agustin; Green, Adam S.; Madella, Marco; Petrie, Cameron A. 2020, 'Automated detection of archaeological mounds using machine-learning classification of multisensor and multitemporal satellite data', Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America, 117, 31, 18240 - 18250.

- Gregorio de Souza, Jonas; Alcaina Mateos, Jonas; Madella, Marco 2020, 'Archaeological expansions in tropical South America during the late Holocene: Assessing the role of demic diffusion', Plos One, 15, 4, e0232367.

- Madella M 2020, 'Challenges and opportunities for the future arising from running an INGENIO-CONSOLIDER project'. In Caro et al (eds) Terra Incognita: Libro blanco sobre transdisciplinariedad y nuevas formas de investigación en el Sistema Español de Ciencia y Tecnología.

- Wolfhagen, Jesse; Veropoulidou, Rena; Ayala, Gianna; Filipovic, Dragana; Kabukcu, Ceren; Lancelotti, Carla; Madella, Marco; Pawlowska, Kamilla; Santiago-Marrero, Carlos G.; Wainwright, John 2020, 'The Seasonality of Wetland and Riparian Taskscapes at Catalhoyuk', Near Eastern Archaeology, 83, 2, 98 - 109.

- SP Harrison, MJ Gaillard, B Stocker, M Vander Linden, KK Goldewijk, … M Madella, et al. 2020. 'Development and testing scenarios for implementing land use and land cover changes during the Holocene in Earth system model experiments'. Geoscientific Model Development. 13. 805-824.

Selected research activities

Global Co-Coordinator for the LandCover6k Working Group of the Past Global Changes Project (PAGES)

Advisory Boarad - Humans and the Biosphere Commission, International Quaternary Union (INQUA)