I graduated in Archaeology at the University of Bologna and, after a Master in Archaeological Science at the University of Milan, I obtained my PhD in Archaeobotany from the University of Cambridge. After the PhD I held sevral postdoctoral contracts, including a MSC cofund contract at Univeristat Pompeu Fabra. In 2014 I co-funded the research group Culture and Socio-Ecological Dynamics, recognised by the Catalan Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) as an excellence group. In 2017 I was awarded a Starting grant project from the ERC to work on the role of drought-tolerant crops on the long-term resilience and adaptation to drylands (RAINDROPS ERC-Stg-2017, 759800).
I am an archaeobotanist and quantitative archaeologist specialised in long-term human ecology of drylands. I combine methods from plant sciences, ethnography and archaeology with statistical analysis, modelling and simulation to study plant-related activities. Specifically, my work addresses the essential role of the so-called secondary resources (e.g., millets as foodstuff, dung as fuel, etc.) for the adaptation and resilience of past and present socio-ecological systems in drylands. I conduct research in South Asia, Europe, Near East, Africa and South America, covering a chronology that span from Early Neolithic to historic periods, with a special focus on South Asian Bronze Age and African late prehistory. I strongly believe in the importance of upholding Responsible Research and Innovation practices, by fully complying with the principles of ethical research, open access, civil society engagement and by incorporating a gender perspective to my work.