The GIRLS Bioarchaeological Project

Evolution of puberty and reproductive life history of women:
age-at-menarche and age-at-first childbirth
from farming subsistence to urban societies in Italy

About Us

GIRLS Bioarchaeological Project is a two-year research project funded by the European Union – NextGeneration EU – with the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) for young researchers who have obtained the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships – MSCA- IF ‘Seal of Excellence’ as part of the Horizon 2020.
GIRLS is active at the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Padua (Italy) and it is led by Dr Melania Gigante.

GIRLS aims to reconstruct the evolution of age-at-menarche (i.e., the first menstruation cycle ) and age-at-first childbirth in women across six millennia of Mediterranean history, from the Neolithic to proto-urban and urban societies, until the Early Roman Imperial Age in Italy.

In the first multi-proxy study of wisdom teeth (i.e. the third permanent molars) for reconstructing the evolution of menarche onset and reproductive trajectories in ancient women, GIRLS will combine dental histology and histomorphometry with dental micro-chemistry from a novel perspective involving the study of ancient human dental remains.
From an archaeological perspective, GIRLS will open an unexplored chapter into the biocultural timing of female adolescence bringing unprecedented insight into the behaviours and lives of women in ancient Italy

research topic

GIRLS Bioarchaeological Project explores female adolescence in past societies by reconstructing the variation in tempo of age-at-menarche and age-at-first childbirth.
These life history parameters depend on genetics and individual, cultural, socio-economic, and behavioural constraints. The age at which they occur reveals much about female reproductive biology.

How? Click on the banner.

research team

Meet the Research Team of the GIRLS Bioarchaeological Project!
GIRLS is a cutting-edge and multidisciplinary research project.

This project has partnerships with Italian and International Universities, including the University of Padua, Roma La Sapienza, Modena & Reggio Emilia, and the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt.

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what’s next?

Stay updated on the research activities of the GIRLS Bioarchaeological Project!
Follow the GIRLS’ Blog page – What we do in the shadows!

Every month, the Research Team will take you inside the bioarchaeology labs with pills from the world of bioarchaeological research, interviews with experts, fun facts, and more.

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