- Popularization of science
- Scholarships, distinctions
- Membership of scientific organisations
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Researcher of the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures PAS since December 2020
Working hours: at 9.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Section: Department of Egyptian and Near Eastern Cultures
Specialization and research interests:
• Prehistoric and historic archaeology of the Nile Valley and the Sahara
• Ancient Nubia and Egypt
• Culture contact and interregional interactions
• Landscape archaeology
• Funerary archaeology
• Material culture (pottery and rock art)
Maria graduated with honours in Near Eastern Studies at Sapienza University of Rome (1993) and owned a PhD in African Studies (Archaeology) from University of Naples L’Orientale (2001). She held teaching, research, and curatorial positions at Yale University (postdoc, associate research scholar and lecturer 2008-2013), University of Leicester (research associate and teaching fellow 2014-2017), University of Birmingham (teaching fellow 2016-2017), and the British Museum (visiting curator 2003-2005). More recently, Maria has been the Simpson Visiting Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo (2019), Visiting Professor of Archaeology at the University of Bologna (2018), and Guest Lecturer at Sapienza University of Rome (2018). Since 2017, she is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History of University of Leicester. In December 2020 Maria joined the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, where she will direct (2021-2023) a new research project entitled ‘BORDERSCAPE – Egyptian state formation and the changing socio-spatial landscape of the First Nile Cataract region in the 4th-3rd millennia BCE’. The project is founded by the Norway Grants-Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 Basic Research Programme through the Polish National Science Centre-POLS Call (2020/37/K/HS3/04097). Since 2005 she is the PI and co-director of the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project in Egypt.
The BORDERSCAPE Project
The Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project – AKAP
Edited volumes and monographs:
Gatto, M.C., Mattingly, D.J., Ray, N. and M. Sterry (eds) 2019. Burials, Migration and Identity in the Ancient Sahara and Beyond, Trans-Saharan Archaeology Volume II, Series editor D.J. Mattingly, Cambridge University Press and The Society for Libyan Studies.
Kobusiewicz, M., Kabacinski, J., Schild, R., Irish, J.D., Gatto, M.C. and F. Wendorf 2010. Gebel Ramlah: Final Neolithic Cemeteries from the Western Desert of Egypt, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences Poznan Branch.
Articles in journals:
Rayne L., Gatto, M.C., Abdulaati L., Al-Haddad M., Sterry M., Sheldrick N., Mattingly D., 2020. Detecting Change at Archaeological Sites in North Africa Using Open-Source Satellite Imagery, in Remote Sensing 12: 3694 (Open Access).
Marchetti, N., Curci, A., Gatto, M.C., Nicolini, S., Mühl, S. and F. Zaina 2019. A multi-scalar approach for assessing the impact of dams on the cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa. Journal of Cultural Heritage 37: 17–28.
Gatto, M.C. 2018. The origin of urban societies in the Nile Valley. Origini: Prehistory and Protohistory of Ancient Civilizations XLII 2018.2 In Memory of Robert McC. Adams: 167–182.
Mattingly, D.J., Bokbot, Y., Sterry, M., Cuénod, A., Fenwick, C., Gatto, M.C., Ray, N., Rayne, L., Janin, K., Lamb, A., Mugnai, N. and J. Nikolaus 2017. Long-term history in a Moroccan oasis zone: The Middle Draa Project 2015. Journal of African Archaeology 15.2: 141–172 (Open Access).
Pitre, M.C., Stark, R.J. and M.C. Gatto 2016. First probable case of scurvy in Ancient Egypt at Nag el-Qarmila, Aswan. International Journal of Paleopathology 13: 11–19.
Gatto, M.C. and A. Zerboni 2015. Holocene supraregional environmental crises as motor for major sociocultural changes in Northeastern Africa and the Sahara. African Archaeological Review 32: 301–333.
Gatto, M.C. 2014. Cultural entanglement at the dawn of the Egyptian history: A view from the Nile First Cataract region. Origini: Prehistory and Protohistory of Ancient Civilizations XXXVI: 93–123.
Hendrickx, S., Darnell, J.C. and M.C. Gatto 2012. The earliest representation of royal power in Egypt: The rock drawings of Nag el-Hamdulab (Aswan). Antiquity 86.334: 1068–1083.
Curci, A., Urcia, A., Lippiello, L. and M.C. Gatto 2012. Using digital technologies to document rock art in the Aswan-Kom Ombo region (Egypt). Sahara 23: 75–86.
Gatto, M.C. 2011. The relative chronology of Nubia. Archéo-Nil 21: 81–100.
Gatto, M.C., De Dapper, M., Gerisch, R., Hart, E., Hendrickx, S., Herbich, T., Joris, H., Nordström, H-Å., Pitre, M., Roma, S., Święch, D. and D. Usai 2009. Predynastic settlement and cemeteries at Nag el-Qarmila, Kubbaniya. Archéo-Nil 19: 184–204.
Gatto, M.C., Hendrickx, S., Roma, S. and D. Zampetti 2009. Rock art in West Bank Aswan and Wadi Abu Subeira. Archéo-Nil 19: 149–166.
Gatto, M.C. 2006. The Nubian A-Group: A reassessment. Archéo-Nil 16 – Hommage à Francis Geus: 61–76.
Papers in conference proceedings:
Gatto, M.C. 2020. The Neolithization process in Nubia, in J. Rowland, G. Tassie, and G. Lucarini (eds), The Neolithisation of the Mediterranean Basin: The Transition to Food-Producing Economies in North Africa and Southern Europe, TOPOI: 141–156 (Open Access).
Gatto, M.C. 2013. Beyond the shale: Pottery and cultures in the prehistory of the Egyptian Western Desert, in R.S. Bagnall, P. Davoli and C. Hope (eds), The Oases Papers 6, Proceedings of the 6th International Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project, Oxbow Books: 61–72.
Gatto, M.C. 2012. The Holocene Prehistory of the Nubian Eastern Desert, in H. Barnard and B. Duistermaat (eds), History of the People of the Eastern Desert from Prehistory to Present, UCLA/CIOA Press: 42–57.
Chapters in Collective Volumes:
Gatto, M.C. 2021. The social dimension of pots: Some thoughts on the ceramic assemblage from the Predynastic site of Nag el-Qarmila, Aswan, in Buchez N., Tristant Y., Rochecouste O. (eds), Égypte antérieure - Mélanges de préhistoire et d'archéologie offerts à Béatrix Midant-Reynes par ses étudiants, collègues et amis. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 304, Peeters Publishers: 369–380.
Gatto, M.C. 2021. New data on the Predynastic/Early Dynastic of the First Cataract region, in W. Claes, M. De Meyer, M. Eyckerman and D. Huyge (eds), Remove that Pyramid! Studies on the Archaeology and History of Predynastic and Pharaonic Egypt in Honour of Stan Hendrickx. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 305, Peeters Publishers: 513–525.
Gatto, M.C. 2021. The A-Group and 4th millennium BCE Nubia, in G. Emberling and B.B. Williams (eds), Oxford Handbook of Ancient Nubia, Oxford University Press: 125–142.
Gatto, M.C. 2020. Neolithic pottery from el-Multaga, Upper Nubia, in M. Vidale, D. Usai and S. Tuzzato (eds), Tales of Three Worlds – A Tribute to Sandro Salvatori, Archaeopress: 267–277.
Gatto, M.C. 2019. The late prehistory of Nubia in its interregional setting, in D. Raue (ed.), Handbook of Ancient Nubia, De Gruyter-Edition: 259–261.
Gatto, M.C. and A. Curci, 2010. Ricerche archeologiche nella regione tra Assuan e Kom Ombo, Rapporto sulle missioni 2008/2009 e 2010, in R. Pirelli (ed.), Ricerche Italiane e Scavi in Egitto V, Istituto Italiano di Cultura e Centro Archeologico Italiano IV, Cairo: 163–172.
Conferences Organization (Selection):
2021 Session ‘Reconstructing Socio-Economic and Cultural Dynamics from the Sahara to Mediterranean Africa during the Holocene’, UISPP XIX World Congress, Meknes Sept 2021, co-organizer with Giulio Lucarini (CNR), Jörg Linstädter (DAI), Youssef Bokbot (INSAP), and Joshua Emmitt (University of Aukland).
2018 Session ‘Current Research in the Rock Art of the Eastern Sahara’, International Conference on Rock Art IFRAO, Valcamonica, co-organizer with Pawel Polkowski (Poznan Museum), Paolo Medici (Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici), Frank Förster (University of Bonn), and Heiko Riemer (University of Cologne).
2015 Workshop ‘Hand-made Pottery: Technological Change and Exchange’, Trans-SAHARA Project, University of Leicester, co-organized with David J. Mattingly (University of Leicester).
2004 Workshop ‘Discussions on Nubian Prehistory’, British Museum, co-organized with Donatella Usai (British Museum).
1998 Conference ‘1st Nubian Studies Day’, Sapienza University of Rome, co- organized with Luisa Bongrani and Serena Giuliani (Sapienza University of Rome).
Conferences Participation (Selection):
2021 ‘Frankincense, incense burners and rising power in prehistoric Nubia’, XIX° UISPP Congress Meknes, Session 20B, 6-7 September 2021.
2021 Vanhulle, D., Gatto, M.C., Hendrickx, S., Darnell, J.C., Curci, A. ‘Augmenting current paradigms: Nilotic rock art reconsidered’, XIX° UISPP Congress Meknes, Session 20B, 6-7 September 2021.
2021 Gatto M.C., Gallorini C., Curci A., Pitre M., Ray N., Roma S., Nicolini S., de Souza A., Brucato A., Bragalone D., Urcia A. ‘Nubian nomads in Second Intermediate Period Egypt: the excavation of Cemetery SM14 (West Bank Aswan)’, Selected Speakers, IX European Congress of Egyptologists (Online)
2020 ‘Pan-Grave who? Funerary evidence from Aswan and Toshka in the frame of current taxonomic issues and future agendas’, Invited speaker, (De)Constructing Nubia: Towards new perceptions of the Nubian social landscape during the mid-Second Millennium BCE, Austrian Academy of Sciences (via Zoom).
2019 Nicolini, S., Gatto, M.C. ‘How far South? Hunting scenes and towed boats between Egypt and Nubia’, Invited speakers, Stone Canvas: Towards a Better Integration of ‹Rock Art› and ‹Graffiti› Studies in Egypt and Sudan, IFAO.
2019 Gatto, M.C., Gallorini, C. ‘Experiencing Elephantine from the hinterland at the end of the Middle Kingdom/early Second Intermediate Period’, Invited speakers, Daily Life in Ancient Egyptian Settlements ‐ Conference to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Excavations on Elephantine Island, German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, Aswan Nubia Museum.
2019 ‘Researching the Nubian Pan-Grave’, Invited speaker, Colloquium Archaeology of Sudan and Nubia, Yale University
2019 Ikram, S., Curci, A., Gatto, M.C. ‘Faunal remains from Pan-Grave cemeteries in West Bank Aswan’, Selected speakers, Conference on the Bioarchaeology of Ancient Egypt & the International Symposium on Animals in Ancient Egypt, American University in Cairo.
2018 ‘Pre- and Proto-historic findings in the region between Aswan and Kom Ombo’, Invited speaker, International Workshop to Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Italian Archeological Mission in the Farafra Oasis, Ministry of Antiquity Cairo.
2018 Curci, A., Urcia A., Gatto, M.C. ‘Digital imaging techniques for the documentation of archaeological rock art sites: The Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project field experience’, Selected speakers, 20th International Rock Art Congress IFRAO, Valcamonica, Italy.
2018 Gatto, M.C., Curci, A. ‘Rock art of the First Nile Cataract region’, Selected speakers, 20th International Rock Art Congress IFRAO, Valcamonica, Italy.
2017 ‘The ontology of the archaeological research in Nubia’, Invited speaker, Workshop Archaeology in Africa Potentials and Perspectives, Sapienza University, Rome.
2017 Gatto, M.C. and A. Curci ‘Archaeology at the Cataract – The work of the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project’, Invited speakers, Italian Archaeology in Egypt and the MENA Countries, Cairo.
2017 Nicolini, S., Urcia, A., Zaia, S., Gatto, M.C., Curci, A. and K. Banks ‘Surveying the Eastern Desert: New archaeological evidence from Wadi el-Lawi and Wadi RasRas’, Selected speakers, Current Research in Egyptology, Naples.
2017 Banks, K., Scott Cummings, L., Snortland, J.S. and M.C. Gatto ‘Turning the desert green: Reconstructing Late Paleolithic vegetation at Wadi Kubbaniya, Upper Egypt’, Selected speakers, Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archaeologists, Vancouver.
2017 ‘Digging the Head of the South – Archaeological research in the Aswan-Kom Ombo Region’, Invited keynote speaker, Birmingham Egyptological Symposium, Birmingham.
Popularization of science
2021 ‘Researching an ancient Egyptian borderscape’, European Archaeology Days 2021, Polish Academy of Sciences (Online)
2019 ‘The pregnant woman’, featured in the British documentary ‘Egypt’s Unexplained Files, Season 1 Episode 7’.
2018 World-wide press release ‘Discovery of the tomb of a pregnant woman dated to the Second Intermediate Period in Egypt’.
2016 World-wide press release ‘Discovery of the first probable case of scurvy in Egypt’.
2011 ‘Nag el-Hamdulab, the earliest representation of Narmer?’, featured in the German documentary ‘Planet Egypt Episode 1 – Birth of the Empire (Narmer)’,
2011 World-wide press release ‘Discovery of the earliest representation of royal power in Egypt, the rock art site of Nag el-Hamdulab’.
2020 Incoming Fellowship for the preparation of an MSCA application, Austrian Academy of Sciences (29 Aug-10 Sept)
2018 Visiting Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bologna (Spring)
2017 Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Luxor Times Magazine, 2016 Top-Ten Discoveries in Egypt, ‘First probable case of scurvy in Egypt (Aswan)’
1997–2000 Honorary teaching fellowship in Prehistoric Ethnography of Africa, Sapienza University of Rome
1997–2000 Honorary teaching fellowship in Nubian Antiquities, Sapienza University of Rome
1997–2000 Honorary teaching fellowship in Prehistory and Protohistory of the Near East, Sapienza University of Rome
1996–2000 Full tuition scholarship for Doctoral Studies, European Social Found and University of Naples L’Orientale
1989, 1991 International Certificate in African Archaeology grant, Erasmus-Socrates Program, European Community, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Membership of scientific organisations
International Commission for the Prehistory of Northeastern Africa
International Society for Nubian Studies
American Research Center in Egypt
Society of Africanist Archaeologists
ISMEO-Associazione Internazionale di Studi su Mediterraneo e Oriente