Dr. Maria Guagnin

Dr. Maria Guagnin

Department of Archaeology

Curriculum Vitae

Maria Guagnin is an archaeologist specialising in rock art research, with a particular focus on the relationship between the depicted animal species and the environment and landscape experienced by the engravers or painters. Maria uses a combination of zoological, quantitative and spatial analyses to isolate environmental and cultural information contained in the imagery and to facilitate an integration of the rock art into its archaeological and environmental context. Her doctoral thesis is entitled ‘From Savanna to Desert: Animal Engravings in the Changing Prehistoric Environment of the Wadi al-Hayat, Libyan Sahara’ and was completed at the University of Edinburgh.

Her wider research interests include population dynamics and settlement patterns across changing environments and landscapes. Maria has considerable fieldwork, surveying and mapping experience in the Sahara, the Near East and across Europe.

Maria joined the Department of Archaeology as a Postdoctoral Researcher for the Palaeodeserts Project. She has published a number of research articles on the rock art of Saudi Arabia, with a focus on the population dynamics and environmental changes of the Early Holocene.


Guagnin, M., Jennings, R., Eager, H., Parton, A., Stimpson, C., Groucutt, H., Drake, N., Pfeiffer, M., Stepanek, C., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. 2016. Rock art imagery as a proxy for Holocene environmental change: a view from Shuwaymis, NW Saudi Arabia. The Holocene. DOI: 10.1177/0959683616645949 

Guagnin, M., Jennings, R.P., Clark-Balzan, L., Groucutt, H.S., Parton, A., Petraglia, M. 2015. Hunters and herders: Exploring the Neolithic transition in the rock art of Shuwaymis, Saudi Arabia. Archaeological Research in Asia 4, 3-16. 

Guagnin, M. 2015. Animal Engravings in the Central Sahara: A proxy of a proxy. Environmental Archaeology 20 (1), 52-65. DOI 10.1179/1749631414Y 

Barnett, T. and Guagnin, M. 2014. Changing places: rock art and Holocene landscapes in the Wadi al-Ajal, south west Libya. Journal of African Archaeology 12 (2), 165-182. 

Guagnin, M. 2014. Patina and Environment in the Wadi al-Hayat: Towards a Chronology for the Rock Art of the Central Sahara. African Archaeological Review 31 (3), 407-423. DOI 10.1007/s10437-014-9161-8

Guagnin, M. 2012. From savanna to desert: Rock art and the environment in the Wadi al-Hayat (Libya), in D.Huyge, F van Noten and D. Swinne (eds.) The Signs of Which Times? Chronological and Palaeoenvironmental Issues in the Rock Art of Northern Africa. Brussels: Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences, 145-157. 

Guagnin, M. 2012. The rock carvings of the Messak: Monuments in a Changing Landscape, in M. Furholt, M. Hinz & D. Mischka (eds.) “As time goes by?“ Monumentality, Landscapes and the Temporal Perspective (Universitätsforschungen zur prähistorischen Archäologie 206). Bonn: Verlag Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, 95-104. 

Mattingly, D., M. Lahr, S. P. Armitage, H. Barton, J. Dore, N. Drake, R. Foley, J. Stock and K. White (with additional contributions by M. Ahmed, F. Cole, F. Crivellaro, M. Gonzalez Rodriguez, M. Guagnin, S. Jones, V. Karloukovsky, V. Leitch, L. Maher, F. Moussa, A. Radini, I. Reeds, T. Savage, M. Sterry). 2007. Desert Migrations: People, Environment and Culture in the Libyan Sahara. Libyan Studies 38, 115-156.

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