Rita Dal Martello

Department of Archaeology
FEDD Research Group

Main Focus

Rita Dal Martello is a post-doctoral research fellow for the Archaeobotany of the Silk Road for the “Fruits of Eurasia: Domestication and Dispersal” (FEDD) project, funded by the European Research Council. She is currently based at the Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Dr. Dal Martello specializes in the analysis of ancient plant remains as the first line of evidence to investigate past subsistence practices in China and Central Asia. 

Her main research interests focus on understanding the development of complex agrarian societies along early contact and trade routes during late prehistoric and early historic times. More broadly, she is interested in agricultural and culinary traditions along ecological frontier zones. She is also interested in tracing the spread of crops outside their domestication centres and how the movement of plants and people impacted changes in agricultural societies through time and space, with special attention to the production and consumption of local minor crops.

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Dal Martello received her PhD in 2020 in Archaeology from University College London, UK. She investigated the timing and development of agricultural systems in the frontier region of Yunnan, Southwest China. Her doctorate research addressed debates on rice and other crops dispersal within South China and beyond.

During her PhD, she contributed to the “Comparative Pathways to Agriculture” (ComPag) ERC-funded project (2013-2018), which aimed to create a global comparative synthesis of early agricultural systems based on archaeobotanical data. 

She holds a MA degree in Neolithic Archaeology from the School of Archaeology and Museology at Peking University, China, where she focused on the early contacts between the Chinese Central Plains and the Steppes, investigating the nature of these across the Eurasian continent during Neolithic times. She also holds a BA in Language, Culture and Society of East Asia from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. 


Dal Martello, R., Min, R., Stevens, C., Higham, C., Higham, T., Qin, L., Fuller., D. 2018. Early Agriculture at the Crossroads of China and Southeast Asia: archaeobotanical evidence and radiocarbon dates from Baiyangcun, Yunnan. Journal of Archaeological Sciences: Reports 20: 711-721. 

Murphy, C., Fuller, D.Q, Stevens, C.J., Gregory, T., Silva, F., Dal Martello, R., Bodey, A., Rau, C. 2019. Looking Beyond the Surface: Use of High Resolution X-Ray Computed Tomography on Archaeological Remains. Interdisciplinaria Archaeologica Natural Sciences in Archaeology 10(1): 7-18.


Research Projects

Fruits of Eurasia: Domestication and Dispersal (FEDD) project

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