Postdoctoral Research Associate of Archaeology
Ilaria Patania is an environmental archaeologist specializing in geoarchaeology. Her current research deals with hunter gatherer exploration and occupation of liminal and fragile environments such as desert margins, eroded landscapes, and islands.
Ilaria uses multiscalar geoarchaeological techniques (such as micromorphology, Fourier Infrared Spectroscopy, and Scanning Electron Microscopy) to the study of archaeological sites to reconstruct past environments, landscape processes, and single human activities such as making fire and cooking. At Washington University she is working with T.R. Kidder to apply geoarchaeological techniques to the re-excavation of previously excavated units at the Poverty Point site to obtain high-resolution chronostratigraphic and geoengineering information. This project seeks to reconstruct timing of occupation and building techniques of Poverty Point to infer new insight on social organization and complexity of the hunter gatherer occupants of the site.
Ilaria is PI of the Early Occupation of Sicily (EOS) Project for which she was awarded grants from the Leakey Foundation and by the University of Connecticut. This multidisciplinary research project focuses on tracing and dating earliest migratory paths on Sicily using: archival research, land and underwater surveys and excavations, environmental analyses (including geomorphology, micromorphology, geochemistry, paleobotany and GIS), and agent base modelling. The broader scope of EOS is to shed light on the nature of human impacts on ‘new’ and fragile ecosystems and the timing of changes codified in the concept of the Anthropocene. She also collaborates on several international projects including: tracing early human migrations into desert environments at Shuidonggou 2 (PRC); analyzing the archaeological context and reconstructing historical ecology and preservation of the eroded landscape at Kisese II (TZ).