Elena Familetto MSc

Elena Familetto MSc

PhD Candidate
Global Change Geomorphology

I am a PhD candidate on the Finding Suitable Grounds project in the Department of Physical Geography specializing in geoarchaeology, micromorphology, and palaeogeography within the context of early crop cultivation in the Netherlands during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition. I have a BA in Environmental Science and Archaeology from Willamette University (USA) and an MPhil in Archaeological Science from the University of Cambridge. My main research interests include human-environment interactions and anthropogenically induced landscape change in prehistory.  


As a subproject of the Finding Suitable Grounds project (funded by NWO), my PhD focuses on:

1) identifying palaeolandscape zones suitable for cultivation during "Neolithization" in the Netherlands (4000-6000 BCE), specifically fluvial levees demonstrating soil formation in the Rhine-Meuse delta and IJsselmeer/Flevoland areas

2) human-subsistence-related activities like clearing, burning, and tilling that have left changes in these landscapes

The project uses regional-level geophysical and palaeogeographic databases to target off-site areas within the vicinity of known Mesolithic/Neolithic settlement sites. Cores from these locations provide samples for thin-section soil micromorphology, carbon-14 dating, and various physical/chemical properties. Integrating these results with multi-proxy archaeobotanical data (PhD project of Ana Smuk) help to reconsider the speed and extent to which people began cultivation in these wetland environments, playing a key role in the discussion of Europe’s “agricultural revolution”.