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Department of Archaeology



After a Master in Bioarcheology and Msc in Medieval Archaeology, I started my PhD at the Department of Classics and Environmental Biology in Sapienza, University of Rome in 2016 and finished in 2020.

During the last two years I have been Assistant Researcher at the Department of Environmental Biology researching on Bioarcheology, Paleopathology and, specially, focussing on themes related to Bioarcheology of Care and Disability.

From 2008 I have been involved in numerous archaeological campaigns ranging different time periods/areas from the Roman to Medieval Ages (Europe and Africa).

Also, during my PhD I have been visiting research scholar at the McDonald Institute.

During my MSCA project (B-CARED), I continue to improve my research profile as archaeologist and osteologist by specializing in the Archaeological Theory related to Disability and Care in past populations.


My research question is based on the contextualization of the health conditions with lifestyles and occupational activities. The opportunity to have a well-defined bioarchaeological background, built during my PhD and post-docs, helped me in defining the frame of my research. The integration of archaeological and biological data resulted as a fruitful method to define the lifestyles of ancient populations.

My investigation focuses on the aspects related to care and disability in the past communities, specifically in the Middle Ages time frame.

Even though bone and teeth are usually the best-preserved organic remains from the past, and bioarchaeological literature is rich in information on diet, pathologies, relationships and mobility, the individual’s life history is often lost in the general description of his/her own overall community. My research aims to counteract the invisibility of disabled persons by drawing on the abundance of skeletal information available.

Key Publications

Key publications: 

In press

Special Issue on "Disability and care in Western Europe during Medieval times: a bioarchaeological perspective”; Guest Edited by Ileana Micarelli, Lorna Tilley, Mary Anne Tafuri, International Journal of Paleopathology.  


Micarelli, I., Strani, F., Bedecarrats, S., Bernardini, S., Paine, R.R., Bliquez, L., Giostra, G., Gazzaniga, V., Tafuri, M.A., Manzi, G. An unprecedented case of cranial surgery in Longobard Italy (6th-8th century) using a cruciform incision, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology

Bernardini, S., Zeppilli, C., Micarelli, I., Goude, G., Sayle, K.L., Manzi, G., Tafuri M.A. Multi-isotope analysis of primary and secondary dentin as a mean to broaden intra-life dietary reconstruction. A case from Longobard Italy, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology


D’Anastasio, R., Micarelli, I., chapter “Bioarchaeologia, Paleopatologia”, section “03 – Antropologia dello scheletro” Eds. M.G. Belcastro and G. Manzi. In Manuale di Antropologia Eds. L. Sineo and J. Moggi Cecchi, DeAgostini, Milano. 

Mecozzi, B., Buzi, C., Iannucci, A., Micarelli, I., Bona, F., Forti, L., Lembo, G., Manzi, G., Mazzini, I., Muttillo, B., Pieruccini, P., Ranaldo, F., Sigari, D., Sardella, R. New human fossil from latest Pleistocene levels of Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, southern Italy) Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 14(1), 1-4


Profico, A., Zeppilli, C., Micarelli, I., Mondanaro, A., Raia, P., Marchi, D., Manzi, G., O'Higgins, P. Morphometric maps of bilateral asymmetry in the human humerus: an implementation in the R package, morphomap, Symmetry, 13(9), 1711

Bernardini, S., Asrat Mogesie, S., Micarelli, I., Manzi, G., Tafuri, M.A. Contribution to Longobard dietary studies: stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data from Castel Trosino (6th-8th CE, Ascoli Piceno, Central Italy), Data in Brief, 38, 107290. 

Micarelli, I., Paine, R.R., Tafuri, M.A., Manzi, G., Conservation and reassessment of an overlooked skeletal collection preserved since 1901 at The Museum of Anthropology “G. Sergi”, Rome, Conservation Science in Cultural Heritage, 20(1), 65–78.  

Ledger, M.L., Micarelli, I., Ward, D., Prowse, T.L., Carrolle, M., Killgrove, K., Rice, C., Franconi, F., Tafuri, M.A., Manzi, G., Mitchell, P. Gastrointestinal infection in Italy during the Roman and Longobard periods: a palaeoparasitological analysis of sediment from skeletal remains and sewer drains, International Journal of Paleopathology, 33, 61-71. 


Buzi, C., Micarelli, I., Paine, R.R., Profico, A., Messineo, D., Tafuri, M.A., Manzi, G. - Digital imaging techniques applied to a rare case of concha bullosa from an Early Medieval funerary area in central Italy, International Journal of Paleopathology, pp. 71-78. 

Francisci, G., Micarelli, I., Iacumin, P., Castorina, F., Di Vincenzo, F., Di Matteo, M., Giostra, C., Manzi, G., Tafuri, M.A., Strontium and Oxygen Isotopes as indicators of Longobards mobility in Italy: an investigation at Povegliano Veronese, Scientific Reports, 10, 11678.  


Micarelli, I., Paine, R.R., Tafuri, M.A., Manzi, G. 2019. A possible case of mycosis in a post-classical burial from La Selvicciola (Italy), International Journal of Paleopathology, 24, pp. 25-33. 


Buzi, C., Micarelli, I., Profico, A., Conti, J., Grassetti, R., Cristiano, W., Di Vincenzo, F., Tafuri, M., Manzi, G. - Measuring the shape: performance evaluation of a photogrammetry improvement applied to the Neanderthal skull Saccopastore 1. Acta IMEKO 7(3), 79-85.   

Profico, A., Bellucci, L., Buzi, C., Di Vincenzo, F., Micarelli, I., Strani, F., Tafuri, M. A., Manzi, G. - Virtual Anthropology and its application in cultural heritage studies. Studies in Conservation 64(6), 323-336. 

Micarelli, I., Paine, R.R., Giostra, C., Tafuri M.A., Profico, A., Boggioni, M., Di Vincenzo, F., Massani, D., Papini, A., Manzi, G. 2018. Survival to amputation in pre-antibiotic era: a case study from a Longobard necropolis (6th-8th centuries AD), JASs Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 96, pp. 185-200. 

Job Titles

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

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Population Biology and Health
Archaeological Theory

Contact Details

im452 [a]
West Building, McDonald Institute


Person keywords: 
Bioarchaeology of Care
Post-classical Archaeology
Medieval Archaeology
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Classical - Roman