Federico Bernardini (Trieste, 1979) is an archaeologist with extensive experience in the application of scientific methods to archaeology to study and characterise ancient materials and investigate past landscapes.
He is type A researcher at the Venice Centre for Digital and Public Humanities (VeDPH) at the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici (DSU) and is visiting scientist at the Multidisciplinary Laboratory of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP, UNESCO) in Trieste, where he has been coordinating the ICTP-Elettra laboratory for cultural heritage and archaeology for about ten years. Since 2018 is cultore della materia for the sector L-ANT/01 at the Department of Humanistic Studies of Trieste University. He is fellow of the Lund Institute of Advanced Neutron and X-ray Science (LINXS), Sweden, and member of the geoarchaeological working group. He is also member of the Scientific Committee of the consortium Advanced Technology Lab for Cultural Heritage (Atlach) of Friuli Venezia Giulia region (Italy) and of the teaching staff of the Scuola Interateneo di Specializzazione in Beni Archeologici (SISBA).
He studied Ancient History with Prehistoric specialization at Trieste University and has been awarded a doctoral degree by the same institution for his Archaeometric study of polished stone axes from Caput Adriae. He has been researcher at the Trieste and Udine Universities and at Centro Fermi, Museo Storico e della Fisica e Centro Studi e Ricerche Enrico Fermi in Rome in the framework of the projects Microtomography for archaeology and palaeontology and SAPIENS - Science for archaeology and palaeoanthropology: to interpret our history. Between 2016 and 2018 he coordinated the Agreement for the development of advanced scientific techniques for the knowledge, protection and valorisation of the archaeological sites and landscape of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region including ICTP, Soprintendenza Archeologia FVG and the University of Trieste.
He got the second level Italian National Scientific Qualification for the scientific research field 10/A1 Archeologia in 2018 and for the scientific research field 04/A1 geochimica, mineralogia, petrologia, vulcanologia, georisorse ed applicazioni in 2017.
His main research topics include: 1. Recent prehistory (Neolithic and Copper Age), protohistory and Roman conquest of Caput Adriae. 2. Multidisciplinary study of ancient topography and landscape through field surveys, excavations and remote sensing. 3. Reconstruction of ancient exchange systems and technologies through scientific studies of lithic and ceramic archaeological artefacts. 4. Application of X-ray computed microtomography (microCT) for the 3D non-destructive characterization of archaeological, paleoanthropological and paleontological materials.
He is author of about 50 publications in peer-reviewed international journals, including Nature and PNAS, and as many in Italian volumes an journals (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Federico_Bernardini2/research).
Main collaborations and research projects
• 2012-present - Soprintendenza Friuli Venezia Giulia, University of Trieste. Interdisciplinary study of the ancient landscape of Friuli Venezia Giulia through archaeological surveys, remote sensing and geophysical methods. The project was carried out also in the framework of the Agreement for the development of advanced scientific techniques for the knowledge, protection and valorisation of the archaeological sites and landscape of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (coordinator; 2016-2018).
• 2012-present - Department of Mathematics and Geosciences of Trieste University, Institute of Archaeology ZRC SAZU. Study of early Roman military fortifications of the Trieste area and related landscape through remote sensing, geophysical investigations, surveys and archaeological excavations in Italy and Slovenia.
• 2017-present - Department of Mathematics and Geosciences of Trieste University, Monton MMS Company, Croatian Conservation Institute. Interdisciplinary study of the ancient landscape of northern central Istria (Croatia) through LiDAR and geophysical surveys (coordinator).
• 2009-present - Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, SYRMEP and SISSI beamlines, other institutes. Study of archaeological artefacts and paleoanthropological remains through synchrotron radiation methods. Accepted proposals: FTIR Spectroscopy applied in the study of prehistoric serpentinite polished stone artefacts (principal investigator; from 14-01-2009 to 18-01-2009); Investigating the dental enamel microstructure in fossil human teeth (participant; from 30-05-2012 to 02-06-2012); Virtual histological reconstruction of dental enamel and dentine microstructures in human deciduous teeth (participant; from 14-09-2016 al 17-09-2016).
• 2009-present - Department of Mathematics and Geosciences, Department of Humanistic Studies of University of Trieste, Institute of Archaeology ZRC SAZU. Scientific study of Neolithic and Copper Age stone and ceramic artefacts, even within official interdisciplinary projects funded by the Trieste Research University Fund (FRA): The partially recrystallized dolerites outcropping near Brezovo Polje (Banija Ophiolitic Complex, Croatia): an interdisciplinary archaeological and petrological research (participant; FRA 2008); Origin and diffusion of Neolithic axes made from central eastern European amphibolite: petrographic, mineralogical and geochemical constraints (participant; FRA 2009 ); SCAN, Studio mineralogico, petrografico e strutturale di Ceramiche ANtiche tramite metodologie convenzionali e innovative (participant, FRA 2018).
• 2010-2014 – ICTP, Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste. Development of state of art non-destructive instrumentation to study archaeological and palaeontological remains in the framework of the EXACT project (Elemental X-ray Analysis and Computed Tomography).
• 2011-present - Budapest Neutron Centre, National Museum of Slovenia, Department of Mathematics and Geosciences, Department of Humanistic Studies of Trieste University, Institute of Archaeology ZRC SAZU. Non-destructive chemical analysis of archaeological artefacts using neutron-based methods, carried out also within official projects submitted to the Budapest Neutron Centre: Study of Copper Age shaft-hole axes found in Caput Adriae by non-destructive Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis (PGAA) (participant; from 15-06-2011 to 18-06-2011); STAR, non-destructive Scientific Techniques for ARchaeology: analysis of Copper Age pottery from central Slovenia and north-eastern Italy by X-ray Computed Microtomography and Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis (principal investigator; from 25-06-2018 to 30-06-2018).
• 2010-present - Italian and foreign institutes. Interdisciplinary study and characterization of archaeological artefacts: 1. study of raw materials of the blue stones of Stonehenge through portable X-ray fluorescence (Open University, UK, from 01-02-2003 to 31-08-2003); 2. study of the putative Neanderthal flute from Divje Babe cave (Slovenia) through microCT (National Museum of Slovenia, Institute of Archaeology ZRC SAZU, from 01-01-2010 to 31-12-2012); 3. study of bee products exploitation in Neolithic groups of Europe, Near East and north Africa through lipid analysis in prehistoric pottery (Bristol University, from 01-01-2015 to 31-12-2015); 4. study of organic and inorganic artefacts from Palù di Livenza through microCT and other methods (Soprintendenza Friuli Venezia Giulia, from 01-09-2016 to present); study of ancient projectile impact marks (MUSE, from 01-09-2016 to 2018); study of dog domestication also through microCT study of dental tissues proportions in dog and wolf carnassial teeth (Siena University, from 01-01-2014 to present).
• 2004-2011 - participation to Italian PRIN and European projects: 1. Interreg IIIA Italy-Slovenia project Tra Natisone e Isonzo: storia ed archeologia di un territorio (Trieste University, from 01-10-2004 to 31-12-2006); 2. Interreg IIIA Italy-Slovenia project I siti costieri dell'alto arco adriatico (Trieste University, from 01-10-2004 to 31-07-2007); 3. Trieste University PRIN project GIS (Geographical Information System) come base analitica per lo studio delle dinamiche insediative pre-protostoriche fra Carso e Istria (Italia-Slovenia-Croazia) (from 09-09-2005 to 09-04-2006); 4. Udine University PRIN project Censimento dei tumuli funerari dell’Età del Bronzo in Friuli Venezia Giulia: ricognizione sul terreno, schedatura informatizzata, applicazione di sistemi informativi territoriali (from 16-07-2009 to 15-12-2009); 5. Trieste University PRIN project I castellieri carsici del Caput Adriae, al centro dell'Europa, fra Italia, Balcani e Mediterraneo (from 20-08-2010 to 20-08-2011).
• 2010-present - study of paleoanthropological remains through microCT: 1. study of the Ceprano skull (La Sapienza University, from 2010 to 2017); 2. study of the Saccopastore skulls (La Sapienza University, from 2018 to present); 3. Study of the human frontal bone nicknamed Paus from the Po river (La Sapienza University, from 2014 to present); 4. Study of the Homo heidelbergensis remains from Visogliano (Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, from 01-01-2014 to 2018); 5. project collaboration: Comparative patterns of dental enamel thickness topography and macrowear in Modern Human populations (Bologna University, from 01-01-2015 to present); 6. Project collaboration: Reconstructing prehistoric (Neolithic to Bronze Age) lifestyles on the territory of Croatia: a multidisciplinary approach (Institute for Anthropological Research, Croatia, from 2019 to present).
Funded Research projects
• Principal investigator of the proposal n. 2008104 approved by Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste (SISSI beamline), entitled FTIR Spectroscopy applied in the study of prehistoric serpentinite polished stone artefacts. from 14-01-2009 to 18-01-2009
• Principal investigator of the IPERION CH (Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage) project STAR, non-destructive Scientific Techniques for ARchaeology: analysis of Copper Age pottery from central Slovenia and north-eastern Italy by X-ray Computed Microtomography and Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis. from 25-06-2018 to 30-06-2018
• ICTP (UNESCO) project coordinator: Living history on the edge of the Lagoon: le oscillazioni del margine lagunare con tecnologie immersive per la fruizione del patrimonio culturale, funded by Veneto Region with about 50kilo euro and coordinated by Ca’ Foscari University. from 2018 to 2019
• ICTP (UNESCO) project coordinator: AVATAR, Aquileia Virtual Archaeological Tour in Ancient Rome – Aquileia, la via verso est, funded by Friuli Venezia Giulia Region with about 30kilo euro and coordinated by the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale. from 2019 to 2020
• ICTP (UNESCO) project coordinator: Progetto espositivo multidisciplinare: Accampamenti militari romani a nordest, funded by Friuli Venezia Giulia Region with 25kilo euro and coordinated by Società Alpina delle Giulie. from 2020 to 2021
• ICTP (UNESCO) project responsible: Bears & Humans Project - A new Tale of Bears and Humans in Trentino throughout Prehistory, funded by Fondazione Caritro with about 50kilo euro and coordinated by MUSE di Trento. from 2019 to 2021
Teaching and supervising
• Seminar (Scambi e contatti nel Caput Adriae pre-protostorico ricostruiti integrando archeologia e archeometria), PhD school of the Trieste, Udine and Ca’ Foscari Universities. 23-27 September 2019
• Responsible of the Erusmus+ student David Prokop (Brno University of Technology) during his traineeship in the Multidisciplinary Lab of ICTP. February-August 2018
• Seminars (X-ray microtomography for cultural heritage and Archaeology and LiDAR remote sensing), PhD school of the Department of Antiquity Sciences of Trieste University. 24 September 2014
• Adjunct Professor of Archaeometry (L-ANT/01) at the Department of Humanistic Studies of Trieste University for the School of Specialization in Archaeological Heritage (SISBA). from 26 July 2013 to 31 October 2013
• 2013 DIANET – Danube Initiative and Alps-Adriatic Network International School. 13-23 April 2013
• External supervisor of the Master’s thesis David Prokop, Processing of tomographic data by principal component analysis method for archaeological applications, Brno University of Technology, 2019.
• Co-supervisor of Bachelor’s and Master’s theses at the Trieste University: Maruska Di Remigio, Studio archeometrico di asce in pietra levigata provenienti da Spaha (Kocevje, Slovenia meridionale), 2006-2007; Filip Starcevic, Studio Petrografico di metamorfiti del complesso di Phorje (Slovenia) finalizzato alla caratterizzazione di asce preistoriche del Carso Triestino e aree limitrofe, 2005-2006; Alessandra Vecchiet, Analisi archeometriche su manufatti ceramici di epoca neolitica – romana del Caput Adriae, 2014-2015; Eugenia Colin, Analisi petrologiche su ceramiche della tarda età del Rame rinvenute nel Carso triestino e nella Slovenia centrale, 2018-2019; Lorenza Barro Savonuzzi, Analisi petrologiche su ceramiche dell’età del Bronzo provenienti dal sito UNESCO di Al-Khutm, Oman, 2018-2019.
AIAr (Italian Association of Archaeometry) Award Salvatore Improta 2009, for young researchers in Archaeometry.
Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Archaeometry, European Journal of Mineralogy, Quaternary International, Wear, etc. Reviewer of archaeological projects for the Slovenian Research Agency (2019).
Archaeological surveys and excavations
He is scientific director of excavations at Grociana piccola and San Rocco, two Republican Roman military fortifications close to Trieste (north-eastern Italy) and took part to many archaoelogical excavations and surveys in italy and abroad.
• Director and member of the scientific advisory committee of the conference XVIII International Conference on Science, Arts and Culture, Transnational cooperation in cultural heritage science (Veli Lošinj, Croatia, 23 - 27 September 2018).
• Co-organiser of the scientific session 28 Geoarchaeology of the 90th Congress of the Italian Geological Society, Trieste 16 - 18 September 2020 (postponed to 2021).
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