Beatrice Demarchi

Beatrice is a biomolecular archaeologist with a background in cultural heritage sciences. She specialised in ancient protein studies at the University of York, where she obtained her PhD in Archaeology (2010) and spent several years as a postdoc.

Beatrice is interested in the fundamental mechanisms underlying the diagenesis of biomolecules and the ways these can be used for obtaining information on the age, evolution and life histories of biomineralised tissues and organisms.

Since founding ArchaeoBiomics, she has broadened her research to encompass a wider spectrum of methods in archaeology, with a view to better understand the relationships between people and their environments in the past. She wishes to enable researchers from diverse backgrounds to pursue their research goals in her laboratory and with the support of her group.

Through her research and teaching in the Natural Sciences, Archaeology, and Sustainability Sciences, she tries to find new ways in which biomolecular archaeology can contribute to today’s environmental and social challenges.

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Rosa Boano

Rosa is an assistant professor and researcher in Biological Anthropology specialised in the study of human remains from archaeological contexts and in cataloging them. Her background is in Natural Sciences and museum practice.

Rosa uses physical anthropology methods to identify skeletal remains in order to understand the ways people lived in the past, with a focus on the Middle Ages in Piedmont. She coordinates research on the historical collection of human remains held by the Anthropology and Ethnography Museum of the University of Turin particularly the huge number of Egyptian mummies and skeletons.

She is interested in exploring the ethical aspects of studying and displaying human remains in museums and is very active in public engagement activities.

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Maria C. Codlin

Maria is an archaeozoologist who employs multiple methodologies to address human-animal relationships in the past. Originally from New Zealand, she gained her PhD in 2022 from Boston University where she employed archaeozoology, stable isotopes and analysis of collagen peptides to understand the importance of wild animals and domesticated birds in the diet of people living in the ancient Mexican city, Teotihuacan. Her current research involves the use of palaeoproteomic techniques to improve taxonomic identification of avian remains from archaeological sites.

In 2022, she joined the ArchaeoBiomics team as a postdoctoral researcher on the project “Birds as a key line of evidence for human vulnerability and resilience to environmental shifts in a pre-agricultural context” funded by DFF – Independent Research Fund Denmark. Her role in this project is to develop new molecular indicators from proteins found in eggshell to identify which species of bird laid the egg. The project team will use this information to trace the breeding patterns of migratory birds which vary in response to human and environmental changes, like availability of water and vegetation. In 2023, Maria was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions European Postdoctoral Fellowship for her project AviCulture: The role of birds in sustainable urban subsistence at Teotihuacan Mexico. AviCulture integrates common zooarchaeological analysis with proteomic analysis to improve taxonomic identification of bone and egg remains. The project examines how turkeys, quails and aquatic birds were employed in food production in the ancient city of Teotihuacan Mexico, an important Mesoamerican city which preceded the Aztec empire in the region by over 1000 years. Through these birds, the project seeks to trace the development of avian husbandry practices and exploitation of aquatic animals, two subsistence strategies that were likely integral to success of urban development in Central Mexico.

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Katerina Carlotta Koukzelas

Katerina Carlotta is an archaeologist and anthropologist specialised in the recovery, documentation and study of human remains from archaeological contexts. She is currently training in biomolecular archaeology. 

Her background is in Near Eastern Archaeology (BA, MA University of Turin, Italy) with a focus on funerary archaeology and rituals. She is currently a student of the Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni Archeologici in Turin (post graduate degree). She is also part of the Erimi Archaeological Project, exploring the Middle Bronze Age site of Erimi – Laonin tou Porakou in Cyprus led by Prof. Luca Bombardieri (University of Siena, Italy), where she works as a field archaeologist and studies the osteological material.

Her specialisation thesis will focus on lipid extraction and analysis from pottery retrieved from the domestic context in Erimi, under the supervision of Beatrice Demarchi and Cynthianne Spiteri.

Meaghan Mackie

Meaghan is a biomolecular archaeologist examining ancient proteins from palaeontological, archaeological, and historic sources. Her background is in archaeology and social/cultural anthropology (BA University of Calgary, Canada) and she has an MSc in Bioarchaeology from the University of York, UK.

While her masters and now current PhD project (based at University College Dublin, supervised by Robert Power and Meriel McClatchie; co-supervised by Beatrice Demarchi and Cynthianne Spiteri of UniTo) focus on understanding diet and health in the past from dental calculus (mineralised plaque), she has worked on lots of materials, from bones and teeth, to ceramics, and even to paintings. She also has extensive experience analysing these samples by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and will learn Sequential Thermal Desorption/Pyrolysis-GC-MS during her PhD to look at lipids and other biomolecules.

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Marlisa Mazzola

Marlisa is a biomolecular archaeologist interested in human-animal interactions in the past, working on faunal remains using different biomolecular approaches such as aDNA, ancient proteins and isotopes. Her background is in Natural Sciences (MSc University of Torino), and she is currently doing a PhD in History and Archaeology – Studies on Heritage, Memory and Cultures based at University of Bologna, co-supervised by Beatrice Demarchi of UniTo.

During her MSc she worked on a project in collaboration with Muse – Museo delle Scienze of Trento –  using ZooMS analysis to reconstruct the fauna of the Late Pleistocene site at Riparo Cornafessa (TN), where the earliest evidence of bear hunting using bow and arrow was discovered. After graduating she obtained a research bursary to carry out palaeoproteomics work in the lab at Turin, working on bird eggshell samples from prehistoric sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. During her ERASMUS Traineeship in Copenhagen she focused on morphometric methods applied to birds and mammals, and she learned the GMM method while working on anatids from sites in Eastern Jordan.

Her current PhD project concerns the application of different traditional and biomolecular archaeozoological approaches for the study of sheep and goat remains from Italian sites dated from the Middle Bronze Age to Early Iron Age as part of the HERDS project (LINK). This research will clarify breeding strategies, exploitation of secondary products, ancient origin of sheep and goat breeds, and it will shed light on the mobility and interactions between the communities that managed the flocks.

Alessia Monticone

Alessia is an archaeologist and museum conservator working on Object Biographies, and the integration of biomolecular approaches to the study museum collections.

Her background is in cultural heritage (BA University of Torino, Italy), she has an MSc in Underwater Archaeology (Università di Pisa, Italy) and a Specialization in Coastal Landscapes and Underwater Archaeology (Università di Sassari, Italy). Since 2013 Alessia is part of the Ministry of Culture, working at the Musei Reali Torino and currently is a PhD student of the Tech4Culture program (Università di Torino, Italy), supervised by Beatrice Demarchi and Enrica Pessione.

Alessia’s key focus is on the use of ZooMS (zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry) to improve the understanding of human-animal relationships in Piedmont, using legacy collections from the Musei Reali Torino. These include the study of osseous Longobard combs, but also the fauna from the Neolithic site of Chiomonte (APICI Project).

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Sarah Sandron

Sarah is a bioarchaeologist  interested in reconstructing osteobiographies. She works on dental calculus using different approaches, including micromorphological analysis and palaeoproteomics. Her background is in Natural sciences, she has a MSc in Sciences of Natural Systems (University of Turin) and she is currently a 1st year PhD student on Sustainable Development and Cooperation (SUSTNET – University of Turin), supervised by Beatrice Demarchi and Rosa Boano and in collaboration with historian Alison Beach (University of St. Andrews) and bioarchaeologist Anita Radini (University College Dublin).

Sarah worked as a predoctoral student on the project “From Text to Teeth: The Nuns of Santa Maria della Stella” in collaboration with the University of St. Andrews. For her PhD Sarah will continue the work on this 18th century monastic community, but she will also expand this to other Medieval and Postmedieval sites in Piedmont. This will allow her to track how people’s diet and health changed as a result of the “Columbian exchange”, which in this area had a huge impact – for example, cornmeal (polenta) and chocolate, two foods from the New World, which are now “traditional” staples of piedmontese cuisine.

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Cynthianne Spiteri

Cynthianne is an organic residue analyst, who joined the ArchaeoBiomics group in 2022, after a previous visiting professorship at the University of Turin. Prior to joining, she was employed as a Junior Professor for Archaeometry at the Institute for Pre- and Protohistory and the Middle Ages at the Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, were she is still affiliated as an Außerplanmäßiger Professor (Supernumerary Professor). She completed a two year post as a Post Doctoral Researcher within the Junior Research Group on Plant Foods in Dietary Ecology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, where her work focused mainly on the use of dental calculus for palaeodietary research and starch taphonomy. She was awarded her PhD in 2013 from the University of York, UK.

Her main research interests lie in palaeodietary reconstructions, particularly during transitory periods, and how these relate to, and shape the general health and social dynamics of a community. She is interested in technological transformation of animal and plant material used for dietary and non-dietary purposes, the introduction of new materials/foodstuffs in ancient communities and therefore the contact, trade and politics in place at the time. She is also interested in changes to the culinary repertoire over time, and how this is influenced by choice and availability. Cynthianne has also carried out several experimental projects, both in the field of residue analysis and plant microfossils. Her experimental focus lies in researching taphonomic processes of organic materials, and how these help us target and interpret scientific data obtained from archaeological contexts, as well as method optimisation and development, in particular in identifying new biomarkers, and therefore contributing to widening the field of biomarker research. She has, more recently, employed Sequential Thermal Desorption/Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry to the study of human dental calculus, as a source of palaeodietary information.

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Fallen Kai Yik Teoh

Fallen is a biochemist, bioarchaeologist, and molecular biologist, who joined the ArchaeoBiomics group in 2022. Before moving to Turin, he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology, Jena, as the head of the Palaeoproteomics Lab. He received his PhD award from Macquarie University, Australia, for studying membrane proteins and protein-protein interactions in cyanobacteria.

He is especially interested in the methodological development of omics techniques, particularly proteomics for archaeology and palaeontology. He studies a range of biocultural materials. including human dental calculus, skeletal remains, mummified soft tissues, ceramics, textiles, and bird eggshells.

In 2023, Fallen was awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions European Postdoctoral Fellowship for his bird evolution project. He will work on eggshells from diverse bird species to track the evolution of birds.