Body ornaments in the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic of Italy
Emanuela Cristiani's research is focused on the study of technological and functional aspects of material culture (stone knapped and ground stone and osseous tools, ornaments) in order to understand cultural traditions embedded in the way objects were produced and used in the past. Emanuela Cristiani's methodology integrates different analytical techniques such as: the study of manufacturing and use-wear traces, micro-residues, zooarchaeology, experimental archaeology, anthropological and ethnographic comparisons.
In her PhD research (University of Rome "La Sapienza"), Emanuela Cristiani has analysed postglacial adaptive strategies and Mesolithic-Neolithic transitional processes in the eastern Alpine region by examining techno-functional tactics related to the inhabitation of mountainous landscapes. Her results gave a new perspective on the nature of the Meso-Neolithic transition in the eastern Alpine region by emphasising the role of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic traditions in the formation of early Neolithic identities.
In the course of her post-doctoral appointments (Wenner-Gren Foundation Post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and Marie Curie IEF Post-doctoral fellowship at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research - University of Cambridge), Emanuela Cristiani has been investigating Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene adaptations in two contrasting areas—the Eastern Adriatic coast and the central Balkans—by applying the same integrated methodological approach to the study of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic osseous tools, ground stones tools and ornaments. Through this research Emanuela Cristiani has been able to characterise foragers' osseous technologies and ornamental traditions in the Balkans.