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). 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.

The laboratory is equipped with several microscopes and laboratory facilities:

  • one ZEISS AxioZoom V16 Motorized Stereo Microscope (10X-168X);
  • one ZEISS AxioScope A1 Metallographic Microscope (50X-500X);
  • one ZEISS Discovery V20 stereomicroscope (10X-170X);
  • one ZEISS Imager Transmitted light Microscope (200X-1000X);
  • one NIKON Eclipse-Ni fluorescence cross-polarized transmitted light microscope (100X-400X).
  • Ultrapure water tank Merck Millipor;
  • one Ultrasonic Cleaner AU-32 Argo Lab;
  • one rotator;
  • one microcentrifuge Thermoscientific;
  • one Nabertherm muffle furnace (30°-1300°);
  • one refrigerator.

Microscopes are all equipped with ZEISS 305 High Definition Colour Cameras. Each microscope has a dedicated workstation for their use.

The DANTE laboratory also houses several experimental reference collections. These include:

  • flaked and non-flaked stone tool replicas used in the plant, animal and mineral material processing;
  • A reference collection of more than 250 wild plant species from South-Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Near East;
  • A reference collection of micro-botanical structures (starch granules, phytoliths, fungi, vegetal fibers, etc.) from more than 250 plant species from South-Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Near East;
  • a collection of medicinal plants used in ancient periods.

The residue reference collection also includes specific equipment for animal and vegetal residue staining.

The research carried out at the DANTE also involves the systematic application of close range photogrammetry for 3D modelling and quantitative analysis of material culture. The laboratory hosts:

  • a permanent close-range photogrammetry stage for the creation of 3D models;
  • a workstation for surface morphometric analysis.

Amongst the research and teaching facilities, the laboratory hosts a database specifically created for the recording of micro-botanical remains amongst which also starch granules and phytoliths.


Laboratory Director:

Prof. Emanuela Cristiani


Post Doctoral Researchers:

Dr. Marialetizia Carra

Dr. Elena Fiorin (MEDICAL - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action)

Dr. Claudio Ottoni

Dr. Andrea Zupancich


Price list DANTE

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