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Eleonora Montanari

Project title

Gendered Stories: Constructing identities through glass beads in Iron Age Italy and Iberia


Eleonora Montanari

Project description

I will shed new light on the role of glass beads in the construction of personal and group identity in Iron Age Spain and Italy. These include gender, age, status, and ethnicity.

We traditionally interpret glass beads from Iron Age burials as female or child ornamentation. But we often overlook them as identity markers in favour of metal artefacts. This skews the picture towards male, martial, and elite identities.

My research will redress this imbalance. I will apply a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate glass bead uses. I am combining funerary archaeology and scientific analysis (XRF, LA-ICP-MS, use-wear analysis and experimental archaeology). 

I will compare objects from Iron Age burials in Italy and Spain (late 8th to 4th century BC). This will unveil the technology, life-histories, and funerary uses of glass beads in two regions of Europe, at a time of rapid socio-political change.

Research grants

  • AHRC Northern Bridge DTP Studentship Award (2018-2021)

Conference papers

  • Duckworth, C. N, Montanari E. and Pitman D., Leading us on: in situ chemical mapping and excavation of a medieval furnace at the Alhambra, Granada, Spain. Approaches in the analysis of production at archaeological sites. International Workshop. Berlin, Germany (January 2018)
  • García Porras, A., Duckworth, C. N., Welham, K., Govantes, D., Alonso, M., Bermúdez, J., Jiménez, M. del C., Montanari, E., Moore, B., Ríos, J. M., La producción cerámica en Granada entre la época medieval y la moderna. Los talleres del Secano de la Alhambra a la luz de las recientes excavaciones arqueológicas. Glaze technology in the Western Mediterranean: Islamic and Christian traditions. International Workshop. Valencia, Spain (January 2018)

Fieldwork experience

Before starting my PhD, I worked for over five years in commercial and research archaeology in the UK and Europe. I worked on sites ranging from the Neolithic to the modern age. During my time as a professional archaeologist, I trained and supervised staff on a variety of projects. These included large infrastructure and research. Find out more on my  blog.

I also produced several unpublished grey literature reports on trial trenching, watching brief and open area excavation sites.


  • BA in Cultural Heritage Studies (Archaeology) - University of Milan - 2010 
    Thesis Title: La roccia n. 1 di Dos Sottolajolo (Paspardo, BS). Contributo allo studio dello stile IV dell’arte rupestre della Valcamonica. 
    (The Rock no. 1 in Dos Sottolajolo (Paspardo, BS). Contribution to the study of the style IV of Valcamonica rock-art.)


  • MA in Archaeology - University of Milan - 2013 
    Thesis Title: Il Forcello di Bagnolo S. Vito (Mantova). Le ceramiche dalle unità stratigrafiche di fase B dei settori di scavo Q-R 18-19. 
    (Forcello di Bagnolo S. Vito (Mantua). The pottery assemblages from Phase B contexts in sectors Q-R 18-19.)