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Department of Archaeology



My background is in archaeological prospection and landscape archaeology. I was introduced to the applications of survey and GIS spatial analysis in the context of the Archaeology of Conflict. This interest culminated in my PhD (University of Barcelona, 2016), where I applied a multi-scale and multi-temporal remote sensing approach (ranging from historical aerial imagery to medium and high-resolution multi-spectral and radar SAR data) for the study of the long-term hydrological dynamics and land use management strategies in North Gujarat (north-western India). I also combined physical and geochemical multi-proxy approaches to detect anthropic and geogenic signatures in soils and surface sediments.

I have conducted research in diverse geographic and ecological regions (ranging from the Mediterranean region, South and Central Asia and North Africa) and have fieldwork experience in archaeological contexts spanning from the Early Neolithic to historic periods. I have worked with colleagues and institutions with different backgrounds (including Geomatics and Earth Sciences), which allowed me to achieve data acquisition and processing skills from multiple Earth Observation instruments and platforms.


  • Multi-sensor Earth Observation applications (ranging from satellite imagery to UAV) for the study of cultural landscapes. 
  • Landscape archaeology and socio-ecological dynamics in a long-term perspective.
  • Methodological challenges and opportunities for the integration of multiple geoarchaeological proxies in archaeological prospection.

I am presently involved in the project “MarginScapes: long-term land use and water management strategies in arid margin landscapes” (H2020-MSCA-IF-2017 794711, from 3/2018 to 03/2020). MarginScapes aims to identify long-term land use and water management strategies in the arid landscapes of South Asia, focusing on the Cholistan Desert and the northern boundaries of the Thar Desert. The area was core to the development of the Indus Civilisation (ca. 3300-2500 BC) and it has been the subject of considerable historical interest due to the presence of an extensive network of relict riverbeds that may have supported several ancient settlements in what is today an extreme arid margin. The project integrates multi-temporal and multi-petabyte geospatial datasets from open-cloud computing and data storage platforms to 1) accurately detect and map landscape features of archaeological, historical and environmental interest (i.e. ancient sites, relict geomorphological features, and seasonal monsoonal water dynamics); and 2) identify the historical and modern landscape alterations of anthropic origin that have changed traditional land and water management strategies, with a specific focus on taphonomic biases affecting archaeological visibility and preservation.




Key publications: 



[1] Biagetti, S., Merlo, S., Adam, E., Lobo, A., Conesa, F. C., Knight, J., Bekrani, H., Crema, E., Alcaina, J., Madella, M., 2017, High and Medium Resolution Satellite Imagery to Evaluate Late Holocene Human–Environment Interactions in Arid Lands: A Case Study from the Central Sahara. Remote Sensing, 9, 4, 351.
[2] Conesa, F. C., Lobo, A., Alcaina, J., Balbo, A. L., Madella, M., Rajesh, S. V., Ajithprasad, P., 2017. Multi-proxy survey of open-air surface scatters in drylands: archaeological and physico-chemical characterization of fossilised dunes in North Gujarat (India). Quaternary International, 436:57-75.
[3] Markofsky, S., Ninfo, A., Balbo, A. L., Conesa, F. C., Madella, M., 2017,  An investigation of local human/landscape dynamics in the endorheic alluvial fan of the Murhab River, Turkmenistan. QuaternaryInternational, 437B:1-17.
[4] Conesa F.C., Madella M., Galiatsatos N., Balbo A. L., Rajesh S. V., Ajithprasad P., 2015, CORONA photographs in monsoonal semi-arid environments: addressing archaeological surveys and historic landscape dynamics over North Gujarat, India. Archaeological Prospection, 22, 2:75-90.
[5] Conesa, F. C., Devanthéry, N., Balbo, A. L., Madella, M., Monserrat, O., 2014, Use of satellite SAR for understanding long-term human occupation dynamics in the monsoonal semi-arid plains of North Gujarat, India. Remote Sensing, 6-11: 11420-11443.
[6] Balbo, A. L., Rondelli, B., Conesa, F. C., Lancelotti, C., Madella, M., Ajithprasad, P., 2013, Contributions of geoarchaeology and remote sensing to the study of Holocene hunter-gatherer and agro-pastoral groups in arid margins. The case of North Gujarat (Northwest India). Quaternary International, 308-309-2: 53-65.


Other publications: 




[1] (In press) Conesa, F. C., García-Granero, J. J., Madella, M., Balbo, A. L., Gadekar, C. S., Lancelotti, C., Rajesh, S. V., Ajithpasad, P., Poblament, recursos i medi ambient en zones àrides: el North Gujarat Archaeological Project (NoGAP). Tribuna d’Arqueologia. Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

Other Professional Activities

Co-PI with Dr S. Markofsky: TerraSAR-X applications in reconstructing Holocene dynamics between societies and water resources in marginal zones (Ancient Merv Project, Turkmenistan and Dholavira archaeological site, India). Earth Observation scientific data granted by German Aerospace Centre, TerraSAR-X Science Service System and UNESCO, in collaboration with the Catalan Technology and Communications Centre (CTTC) (since 05/2016).

Member of the European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art (EASAA).

Member of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSeL).

Google Scholar

Citations 46

h-index 4

i10-index 3

Job Titles

Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Not available for consultancy

Contact Details

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Street
01223 (3)39326