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 as well as 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. 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. My work in plant remains and simulation of human behaviour 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 have been carrying out fieldwork in Pakistan, India, Iran, Turkey, Brazil.

Selected publications

- D'Agostini F, Ruiz-Perez 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 309, 104783
- Gadekar C, Garcia-Granero JJ, Madella M, Lancelotti C, Veesar GM, Abro TA, Chandio MA & Zurro D 2023, 'Phytoliths and lithics: An alliance of convenience? Performing first comprehensive residue analysis for the artefacts of the Indus Civilisation', Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, 52, 104254.
- 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', Sci Data, 10, 479.
- Lindmaë M & Madella M 2023, 'La Boqueria, "the mirror of what Barcelona represents": An analysis of public policy and the commodification of food markets', in van Melik R & Sezer C (eds) Marketplaces - Movements, Representations and Practices, Routledge, Oxon, 63-75.
- 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.

Selected research activities

Director, UPF Centre for Digital Humanities
Visiting Professor, Shah Abdul Latif University (Pakistan) (Nov-Dec 23)
Board of the Human and Environment Commission – International Association of Quaternary Studies INQUA
Representative for Iberian Peninsula, European Association of South Asian Archaeology and Art
PI, ModAgrO Project - Pakistan (funded by Palarq, Spanish Ministry of Science & Ministry of Culture)
PI, MAPHSA Project - South America (funded by Arcadia Fund)