I obtained my PhD in Archaeology from the U. of Barcelona in 1999 after 3 years at the Weizmann Inst of Science working with Prof. S. Weiner. I pioneered in applying quantitative and morphological phytolith analyses to Prehistoric sites aiming to better understand the relationship between environment, humans and use of plants. In 2011 I created PhytCore, the most extensive phytolith database to date. I have directed more than 20 research projects and written more than 100 papers (80 SCI). From 2005-2013 I founded and directed GEPEG recognized as Quality Research Group by Catalan Government. At present, I am responsible for the "Paleoenvironmental and paleovegetation" research area within ERAAUB and I participate as co-Pi in the European Advance research grant "TeRRACE" to study the use of cultivated plants. Most recently we have initiated a new research to apply Deep Learning for automatically recognizing, detecting and classifying images for phytolith identification and analysis.
My research interest focuses on three different aspects, human use of plants, reconstruction of the vegetation of human occupied landscapes, and their consequent impact in the landscape. Some of the most remarkable aspects of my research include the vegetation reconstruction of environments associated with the development of early homo populations in Eastern Africa, the use of fire by prehistoric populations, and the origins and development of agriculture. To do this, I use a multi-proxi approach based on mineralogical analyses of archaeological and closely related sediments and preserved archaeological tools, and analyze their microscopic components, to identify plant remains (phytoliths, starches, calcium oxalates) and other biological microremains (diatoms, sponge spicules, chrysophytes, spherulites). In later years, I have also devoted part of my time to develop digital platforms to exchange databases to improve dissemination of microarchaeological research ( www.PhytCore.org).