Dr Ana Polo-Diaz

Department of Archaeology

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow

Dr Ana Polo-Diaz
Profile picture of Dr Ana Polo-Diaz

I graduated in History with a focus in Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), where I also completed a M.A. in Environment and cultural adaptations during Prehistory, followed by a PhD in Geoarchaeology that explored the occupation modes of rock-shelter sites by early farming groups in Northern Iberia.

Between 2011 and 2012 I was granted a postdoctoral position at Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling (UK) by the Basque Government. Thereafter I returned to the University of the Basque Country as a Postdoctoral Fellow and geoarchaeologist.

In early 2017 I joined the Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES) in Tarragona as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Geoarchaeology Coordinator in the Project PALEODEM (ERC-2015- CoG – GA 683018, PI: Javier Fernández López de Pablo).

In 2019 I was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship (MSCA-IF) at the University of Sheffield, where I currently work with Professor Paul Halstead.

Research interests

I investigate the anthropic and natural dynamics involved in the accumulation, alteration and preservation of sediments in archaeological deposits. I use geoarchaeology as a methodological approach and micromorphology and thin section analysis as a core tool to provide direct evidence of behaviour, settlement patterns and palaeoenvironments of prehistoric groups.

The end goal of my work is the reconstruction of human activities and the understanding of how past climates impacted cultural adaptation and transitions. The main geographical focus of my work is the Iberian Peninsula, although I also maintain research interests and collaborations in the Near East.

I have conducted fieldwork and investigated the formation processes of a wide range of Late Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological contexts including Middle Palaeolithic and Upper Palaeolithic sites as well as Mesolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age deposits.

My research activity in Sheffield revolves around the project GeoFodder: The scale and significance of early animal husbandry in SW Europe: development of an interdisciplinary high-resolution approach to the investigation of livestock diets and herding practices.

This work examines herding practices, management of natural resources and the relative importance of crops and livestock in early farming through the integration of archaeological, ethnographic and experimental data for recognition of fodder and the assessment of the preservation degree of different plant types.

Selected Publications