Principal Investigator

Melania Gigante is a Human Bioarchaeologist, currently a Researcher (Rtd-A) in Physical Anthropology at the University of Padua. During her career, she got a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (2023), and a Seal of Excellence Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (2022).
Melania is specialised in the multi-analytical approach to the study of skeletal and dental remains from archaeological contexts, involving cutting-edge methodologies in dental and bone histology, morphology, and bio-geochemistry.
By using a novel approach to the dental remains, she has been focusing on exploring the evolution of adolescence life history in girls, and particularly the age at puberty and first childbirth in ancient human populations.

Prof Dr Luca Bondioli

ORCID iD – Luca Bondioli
Scopus Author

Project Supervisor

Luca Bondioli is a Physical Anthropologist and Paleoanthropologist, currently an Adjunct Professor in Bioarchaeology and Prehistory at the University of Padua. He directed the Bioarchaeology Service at the former National Prehistoric and Ethnographic Museum ‘L. Pigorini’, currently Museum of Civilisations (Rome) between 1986 and 2020.
His main research interests focus on the use of advanced methods in skeletal biology, image analysis, digital radiography, micro CT measurements with both conventional X-ray and synchrotron light sources, dental histology, high spatial resolution biogeochemistry, and the application of statistics and mathematics in archaeology and anthropology. He has authored over 150 scientific papers in Italian and International peer-reviewed journals and carried out field missions to Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.

Dr Alessia Nava

ORCID id – Alessia Nava
Scopus Author

Project co-Supervisor

Alessia Nava is a Biological Anthropologist specialised in dental histology, with particular attention to the early phases of human life. Currently, she is leading the five-year research project MOTHERS, funded by the European Research Council (ERC-2022-STG 101077348) at the Department of Odontostomatological and Maxillo Facial Sciences at the University of Rome La Sapienza. During her career, she explored several dimensions of palaeoanthropological research, from archaeology and palaeoanthropology to cutting-edge technologies applied to archaeological and fossil human specimens. In the last few years, she developed histologically-defined elemental and isotopic analyses of dental enamel through LA-(MC)-ICPMS, aiming at disentangling at the high spatial resolution the mineralization patterns of human dental enamel and the dietary and mobility patterns of past human populations.

Prof Dr Wolfgang Müller

ORCID id – Wolfgang Müller
Scopus Author

Project Collaborator

Wolfgang Müller is a Professor of Geology and Palaeoenvironmental Research. He is a leading expert in the field of palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, using (isotope) geochemical proxies analysed at high spatial resolution in key ‘archives’ such as teeth or marine organisms. This is evidenced by 25+ relevant international publications within the last 5 years, regular keynote invitations at international conferences and recently invited paper submissions. He also holds a joint appointment with the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt.

Dr Carmen Mariarosaria Esposito

ORCID id – Carmen Mariarosaria Esposito
Scopus Author

Project Collaborator

Carmen Esposito is a Human Bioarchaeologist, currently a Post-doc Researcher at the University of Bologna. She is interested in human mobility in early Iron Age Italy, exploring the Villanovan phenomenon of pre-Roman Italy through material culture, osteology, and multi-isotope analysis. Carmen was previously a Fellow at the British School at Rome (BSR) and PDRA at Cardiff University working on the FeastNet project on multi-isotope analysis of animal bones from the British Bronze to the Iron Age. Carmen has recently started her Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship with the research project TULAR at the Department of Cultural Heritage in Bologna, exploring human mobility in various Villanovan sites across the Peninsula.

Dr Federico Lugli

ORCID id – Federico Lugli
Scopus Author

Project Collaborator

Federico Lugli is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Institut für Geowissenschaften of the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt and an adjunct researcher at the Department of Chemical and Geological Science of the University of Modena & Reggio Emilia. His research focuses on the use of isotope geochemistry to unravel the interaction between human/animal and environment. He is interested in using strontium isotope in teeth to decrypt mobility and past migrations, but also in the use of stable (non-)traditional isotopes and elemental ratios to investigate trophic chains and diet histories. Federico is involved in the development of novel methods for high precision and resolution laser ablation ICP mass spectrometry analyses of phosphates, carbonates, and other geological/biological matrices. He also uses proteomic analyses of bones and teeth by LC-MS/MS and MALDI-ToF-MS, to unravel the taxonomy and the sex of fossil remains. 

Prof Dr Alfredo Coppa

ORCID id – Alfredo Coppa
Scopus Author

Project Collaborator

Alfredo Coppa is a Professor in Anthropology and Palaeoanthropology. His primary interests are in early Homo forms and skeletal collections – starting with the earliest anatomically modern forms of Homo sapiens, biological relationships between ancient populations through the joint analysis of dental morphology and ancient DNA in the Mediterranean basin, Arabic Peninsula, Northern Africa, Caribbean, South America –. He has authored over 180 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. He is the coordinator of the Eritrean-Italian-Danakil Expeditions in Eritrea. He is also responsible for a Research Unit of the Finalised Project ‘Beni Culturali’ of the CNR and for seven Projects of National Interest (PRIN). Alfredo is a coordinator of two European Research Projects (i.e., CHERK and CHERM) INCO, FP6-2002-INCO-MPC/SSA-2; and the HORIZON 2020 Project ARIADNEplus. He is responsible for anthro-archaeological missions in Italy, the Dominican Republic, Tunisia, Cuba, the Sultanate of Oman, Eritrea, Yemen, Morocco, and Pakistan. He is a Visiting Professor at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Musée de l’Homme (Paris) and the Universidad del Altiplano in Puno (Peru). Alfredo is an Adjunct Professor at the McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.