Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies (CIAS)
Coordinator of the Wolfson Archaeology Laboratory
Coordinator of the School's Exchange Programmes
Coordinator of the Archaeology Research Seminars
Coordinator of the Material Culture Research Strand
PhD in Archaeology, St. John's College, University of Cambridge
Post-Graduate Diploma in European Prehistory, University of Milan
First Degree in Classics and Archaeology, University of Milan
2005 - Visiting Lecturer in European Prehistory, Continuing-Education University ‘Unigold’, Milan
2004-2005 - Field Instructor in the Summer Field School, University of Milan
2013 - Nominated (with Graeme Barker, Cambridge). Lloyd Cotsen Prize, UCLA
2003 - Early career publication award, The Italian Institute for Prehistory and Protohistory (IIPP)
My research focuses on the interaction between material culture and society in prehistoric Europe and the Mediterranean. Under this broad rubric, my work concentrates on two main subjects: the Later Prehistory of the Central Mediterranean (with particular reference to ancient technology, burial practices, household archaeology and the landscape) and prehistoric copper-alloy metallurgy. I have published extensively on both subjects.
Use-wear analysis of copper-alloy metalwork
Field survey and excavation methods
My current work concentrates on the origins of metallurgy in the prehistoric Central Mediterranean, with special regard to its chronology, technology and social dynamics. My most significant achievements included back-dating the emergence of metal-working to the Late Neolithic (cf. Dolfini in Antiquity 84, 2010 and Dolfini in Accordia Research Papers 13, in press), reconsidering the function of Chalcolithic metalwork by means of use-wear analysis (Dolfini in Journal of Archaeological Science 38, 2011), and proposing a new model to explain the emergence and early spread of metallurgy (Dolfini in European Journal of Archaeology 16.1, 2013).
I am a specialist advisor on prehistoric artefacts for The Cutting Edge, a project that draws together different sources of information about archaeological and ethnographic tools and weapons with sharp edges from collections held in Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM), and combines existing information with new images of the artefacts. The high-resolution images of the cutting edges and other significant part of the objects (e.g. hafts) will be especially useful for researchers interested in the manufacture and use of ancient and ethnographic artefacts.
I am also coordinating two public engagement projects: the first aims to build a full-size replica of an Anglo-Saxon iron smelting furnace (and use it to smelt iron!) with a group of year 9 pupils from Burnside Business and Enterprise College, Newcastle; the second involves organising a combat experiment with replicas of Bronze Age weapons and shields, to be showcased at the British Science Festival in Sept 2013.
Finally, I am starting a new excavation at Case Bastione in central Sicily. The project, conducted in collaboration with E. Giannitrapani, investigates the Copper Age phase of a multi-stratified settlement site, where a feature that might be interpreted as a copper smelting pit-furnace has been brought to light. The 2013 campaign will include excavations, magnetic prospections, and petrographic and chemical analyses of the furnace lining.
A selection of my research papers can be downloaded from my Academia.edu webpage.
I have recently submitted an AHRC large grant application for a research project entitled 'The Social Life of Early Metal Objects in Europe' (with A. Charles, B. Gaydarska and C. Fowler). The project aims to explore the technological and social biographies of early metal objects in Bulgaria, Italy and northern Britain through a unique combination of archaeological and analythical methods.
I am working towards an AHRC research networking application to organise a series of conferences leading to a CUP (World Archaeology Series) edited volume discussing the prehistory of Italy in its central Mediterranean context (with J. Robb, Cambridge). I am also working towards a Leverhulme grant application for a research project investigating the function of early flint and metal daggers in Europe by means of use-wear analysis (with C. Lemorini, Rome-La Sapienza). The aim of the project is to explore whether early flint and copper-alloy daggers where employed in similar social practices in two sample regions in Europe.
I am keen to supervise doctoral students working on any of my research areas and in particular: the social dynamics of prehistoric technology and material culture; copper-alloy metallurgy in prehistoric Europe and the Mediterranean; death and burial in the ancient Mediterranean; and household archaeology. Informal enquires about research topics are encouraged.
ARA1026 - Introduction to Archaeological Science
ARA2011 - Later European Prehistory (module leader: J. Harding)
ARA2101 - Artefacts (module leader: J. Gerrard)
ARA3100 - Later Mediterranean Prehistory
ARA8186 - Ancient Technologies: Understanding metalwork (with A. Charles)
ARA8182 - Prehistoric Architecture: Houses, monuments and beyond (module leader: J. Harding)
ARA8184 - Bodies in Prehistoric Europe (module leader: C. Fowler)