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Diet and ANcient TEchnology Laboratory

The DANTE - Diet and Ancient Technology laboratory is an interdisciplinary facility for the study of ancient technology and diet funded by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant Project HIDDEN FOODS, G.A. no. 639286 to Prof. Emanuela Cristiani). Research topics focus on ancient technology and symbolism, food preparation and food technology, plant foods and forager diet, ancient medicinal remedies, health and living conditions. The DANTE laboratory supports multipronged research applying cutting-edge methodologies for the study of material culture and human/animal remains (teeth).  The laboratory hosts equipment for (1) the technological, use wear and residue analysis of ancient and ethnographic material culture (e.g. knapped stone tools, osseous artefacts, ornaments, groundstone tools); (2) the recovery and study of macro- and micro-botanical remains; (3) the study of dietary, environmental and occupational micro-debris in human dental calculus.

Meet Our Team

Dr Emanuela

Lab Head
PHOTO 2021-02-16-17-26-28
Dr Elena 
MSCA-IF Fellow
Dr Marialetizia 
Associate Researcher
Dr Claudio
Associate Researcher
Dr Andrea
Associate Researcher

Microscopes and equipment available at the DANTE laboratory:

• Zeiss AxioZoom v16 motorised stereomicroscope

• Zeiss Discovery V20 stereomicroscope

• Zeiss AxioScope A1 metallographic microscope

• Zeiss Axio Imager transmitted light microscope

• Nikon Eclipse cross-polarised and fluorescence light microscope

• Nabertherm muffle furnace

Reference Collections

Experimental reference collections:

• flaked and non-flaked replicas utilized to work vegetal, animal and mineral matters

• a reference collection of vegetal (including fibers used for textile activities), animal and mineral micro debris

• a botanic collection of more than 250 species of wild plants coming from South East Europe, Africa and the Near East comprising also starch granules and phytoliths 

• a collection of medical plants utilized in ancient times

3D modelling and Surface analysis

Equipment and softwares for geomatic analyses:
• a permanent stage for close range photogrammetry comprising a lightbox, a Canon EOS 500D DSLR camera and an automatic turntable

• a workstation dedicated to 3D models and surface morphometric analyses with a suite of software including MountainsMap, Cloud Compare and MeshLab