Cristina Tonghini graduated from Ca' Foscari University of Venice (1988) and obtained a PhD in Islamic Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1995); she completed her training as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Florence, Department of History (1996-1998).
Since 2000 she has taught Archaeology and History of Islamic Art at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice.
She has participated in numerous archaeological research projects in the Islamic world (1988-2000): United Arab Emirates (Ras al-Khaima, Abu Dhabi), Jordan (Petra), Syria (Euphrates Valley, Raqqa, Madinat al-Far, Qal'at Ja'bar), Yemen (Aden).
She has directed international archaeological research programmes: Progetto Shayzar: study of fortified settlement in Bilad al-Sham (2002-2011), focused in the castle of Shayzar (Syria, Hama province), funded by: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fondation Max van Berchem (Geneva), World Monuments Fund (New York), Aïdi Foundation (Paris); Rebuilding the frontier: the citadel of Urfa (2014-2016), on the citadel of Urfa (Turkey), funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.
She also oversaw the design of a new exhibition itinerary for the Islamic section of the National Museum of Damascus as part of the rehabilitation and enhancement programme promoted by the Italian Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2008).
Presently (2016-present) she oversees the project Land behind Mosul: settlement, landscape and material culture of the Islamic period in Northern Iraq, under the auspices of The land of Niniveh Archaeological Project (LONAP, University of Udine); the project received funding from PRIN 2017-2019 and from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Land behind Mosul is aimed at studying a vast area north-east of Mosul for the entire Islamic period, from the Arab conquest of the 7th century to the end of the Ottoman period.
Her research interests are focused on the following topics:
1. Settlement and productive landscapes of the rural world in the Islamicate Near East.
2.The hydraulic landscape in the Islamicate Near East, with particular reference to the water mill system.
3. The fortified settlement and military architecture in the Islamicate Near East.
4. The production of mobile artefacts from the Islamicate Mediterranean and their circulation.
Author of numerous scientific publications, including 3 monographs, she has presented her work at various international conferences.
She is a member of the International Committee of ICAANE (International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East), where she oversees the session dedicated to Islamic Archaeology.
She participates in the editorial/advisory board of international journals and series.