Marta Tenconi

Honorary Research Fellow

PhD (Università degli Studi di Padova)

Email address:

Department address:

Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield
Minalloy House
10 – 16 Regent Street
S1 3NJ
United Kingdom



I took my BA in 2005 in Science of the Cultural Heritage -course of studies in Archaeology- at the Università degli Studi di Pavia. My final year thesis was about the study and cataloguing of engraving rocks at the archaeological site of Capo di Ponte, Naquane (Brescia, Italy) with conservation aims. Afterwards, in 2008, I took the MA degree in Science and Technology of the Cultural Heritage -course of studies in Archaeology- at the Università degli Studi di Padova. My final thesis was about the archaeometric study of Early Bronze Age pottery from the lake-dwelling of Arquà Petrarca (Padova, Italy) with the main aim to reconstruct the production technology.

After one year of consultancy works and collaborations with archaeological societies, mostly in Northern Italy, I came back to Padova where I conducted my PhD research and in 2011, during the PhD, I spent a period as visiting student at the Archaeological Department of the University of Sheffield. My PhD project was a study about the regional and interregional relations between protohistorical communities from North-Eastern Italy through the archaeometrical analysis of their pottery. As part of the same project, I also carried out analysis on phosphates, sulphates and sulphides observed in archaeological pottery, indicating post-depositional secondary depositions. In 2013 I successfully defended my Ph.D., achieving the title of Doctor Europeus.

Between 2013- 2014 I was member of the NARNIA-ITN consortium as a Marie Curie Experienced Researcher, at the Department of Conservation Science, Queen Rania Institute of Tourism and Heritage, at the Hashemite University (Jordan) where I carried out a project about the assessment and quantification of damage on the building materials of the castle of Azraq (Jordan). The work was carried on in collaboration with stone conservators of the NCSR ‘Demokritos’ in Greece.

From 2015-2017, I was a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow at the Department of Archaeology of the University of Sheffield, developing the project “Transport jars and commodity exchange in the Late Bronze Age Argolid: Tiryns and Midea”.  I am now an Honorary Research Fellow of the Department.


Research interest:

Since I started at the university I have worked as archaeologist and I have dealt with conservation science and the characterization of cultural heritage. My experience is primarily focused on archaeological pottery characterization, but my research interests are wide-ranging and related also to the conservation science:
- Aegean and Italian archaeology
- Ancient ceramics production technology
- Application of analytical techniques to the study of archaeological materials
- Implementation of new technologies for the study of archaeological materials and the cultural heritage conservation
- Mortars and plasters characterization and monuments conservation

Marie Curie research project

Transport jars and commodity exchange in the Late Bronze Age Argolid: Tiryns and Midea
Recent work on Bronze Age transport amphorae and notably Transport Stirrup Jars (TSJs) has demonstrated the great potential of integrated petrographic and chemical analysis to answer questions on the provenance of ceramics and their contents, the latter concentrating on Crete. This project aims to illuminate commodity exchange with an emphasis on the Mycenaean world, through the detailed analysis and publication of Transport Jars of LHIIIA-LHIIIC date in the Argolid, specifically from the major deposits at the citadels of Tiryns and Midea. Transport jars from these sites will be analysed and diachronic variation will be investigated, tracing contact between the Argolid, Crete, Cyprus and the Levant both during the life of the Mycenaean Palaces and immediately after their demise.


Selected publications:

TENCONI M., BALA’AWI F., KARATASIOS I., VASSILIS K., submitted. Al Azarq castle, Jordan: the characterization of building mortars and the preservation of the architectural structures. In Journal of Archaeological Science Reports.

TENCONI M., 2014. The state of conservation of the architectural structures and mortar characterisation at the castle of Azraq, Jordan. In KASSIANIDOU V., DIKOMITOU-ELIADOU M. (ed), The NARNIA project: integrating approaches to ancient material studies, Nicosia, 207-218.

TENCONI M., MARITAN L., LEONARDI G., PROSDOCIMI B., MAZZOLI C., 2013. Ceramic production and distribution in North-East Italy: study of a possible trade network between Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions during the final Bronze Age and early Iron Age through analysis of peculiar “flared rim and flat lip” pottery. In Applied Clay Science, 82,121-134.

TENCONI M., 2012. Indagine archeometrica di ceramiche provenienti dal sito protostorico di Castel de Pedena (BL), in ANGELINI A., LEONARDI G. (ed), Il castelliere di Castel de Pedena. Un sito di frontiera del II e I millennio a.C., Padova, 109-128.

MARITAN L., MAZZOLI C., TENCONI M., LEONARDI G., BOARO S., 2009. Provenance and production technology of Early Bronze Age pottery from a lake dwelling settlement at Arqua Petrarca, Padova, Italy, in QUINN P.S. (ed), Interpreting Silent Artefacts. Petrographic approaches to archaeological ceramics. Archaeopress: Oxford, 81-99.