Dr. Monica Alonso Eguiluz
Over the last 10 years, I have been working in the frame of Microarchaeology, which is focused in study the archaeological record that cannot be seen to the naked eye. Within this discipline, I combine different proxies to reconstruct past societies: plant microremains (phytoliths and ash pseudomorphs), as well as calcitic microremains generated within the digestive system of certain ruminants (fecal spherulites). Finally, I also characterize mineralogical composition of sediments using Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analyses. I received my training with the ICREA research professor Rosa M. Albert in the University of Barcelona (Spain).
My principal research line is the study of pastoralism, specifically I am focused in the analyses of the so-called fumier deposits. The study of fumier deposits from the north of the Iberian Peninsula by using phytoliths, ash pseudomorphs, fecal spherulites and FTIR analyses, was the main topic of my PhD dissertation, which was defended in the University of Basque Country (Spain) on 2021.
After completing my PhD, I obtained a postdoctoral position to work with Rosa M. Albert in the ERC TerrACE (https://www.terrace.no/), headed by professor A.G. Brown (University of Tromsø Museum). This is a multidisciplinary project where different analyses are being applied (DNA, OSL, soil carbon sequestration (SOC), phytoliths etc.) to the study of agricultural terraces in Europe. My role in this project is to find out which kind of cultivars were used in the terraces under study through the phytolith analyses.
Beside pastoralism and agricultural terraces, I am also involved in other projects as the one carried out in the Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) cave of Mughr el-Hamamah (Jordan), in collaboration with the team of professor Aaron Stutz (Bohusläns Museum, Sweden). The study conducted in this cave allowed us to better understand the formation processes of the cave and the use of plants during the EUP in the levant.
Currently, I joined Yanick Devos’s team to study phytoliths in thin sections, within the project of The Archaeology of Coastal Communities, headed by professor Karin Nys.
Five key publications:
Polo-Díaz, A., Alonso-Eguiluz, M., Ruiz-Alonso, M., Pérez, S., Mujika, J.A., Albert, R.M. & Fernández-Eraso, J. (2016). Management of residues and natural resources at San Cristóbal rock-shelter: contribution to the characterization of chalcolithic agropastoral groups in the Iberian Península. Quaternary International, 414, pp. 202-225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2016.02.013
Alonso-Eguíluz, M., Fernández-Eraso, J. & Albert, R.M. (2017). The first herds in the upper Ebro basin at Los Husos II (Álava, Spain): Microarchaeology applied to fumier deposits. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 26, pp. 143-157. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00334-016-0590-y
Daura, J., Sanz, M., Oms, F. X., Pedro, M., Martínez, P., Mendiela, S., Oliva Poveda, M., Gibaja, J. F., Mozota, M., Alonso-Eguíluz, M., Albert, R. M., Allué, E., Bañuls-Cardona, S., López-García, J. M., Santos Arévalo, F. J., & Fullola, J. M. (2019). Deciphering Neolithic activities from a Cardial burial site (Cova Bonica) on the western Mediterranean coast. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 23, pp. 324-347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.10.036
Alonso-Eguiluz, M. & Albert, R.M. (2022). Procesos postdeposicionales y actividades antrópicas en la cueva de Arenaza I (Galdames, Vizcaya). Una aproximación desde la Microarqueología. In: Fernández-Eraso (ed.): La cueva de Arenaza I (Galdames, Vizcaya). KOBIE. ISBN 978-84-7752-470-X.
Alonso-Eguiluz, M., Toffolo M.B., White, C.E., Asouti, E., Boaretto, E., Nilsson Stutz, N, Stutz A. & Albert R.M. (submitted) Mughr el-Hamamah (Jordan): Archaeobotanical taphonomy and site formation processes. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany