Mattia Cartolano

Postgraduate Research Student


Before starting his current PhD project, Mattia completed his MSc by Research in Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University and MA in Philosophy at Roma Tre University. In 2012 he was awarded the Leonardo Da Vinci scholarship programme which he received from the University of Tor Vergata. He was also involved in excavation projects in, among others, Spain and Israel.

Research Interests

Thesis Title

"Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations as key factors in the evolution of social cognition among Neolithic communities of Southwest Asia"

Mattia's thesis focuses on studying the socio-cultural developments that took place during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) in Southwest Asia. In particular, Mattia is keen to identify those social aspects that appear to be highly relevant in the transformative socio-cultural and economic processes that happened within the 9700-6200 cal BC timeframe. Mattia postulates that major cognitive changes must have occurred among PPN communities in order to allow them to address several challenges in the transition from foraging to farming, for instance, the social scalar stress in large and densely populated centres, the construction of unique cultic sites and the domestication of plant and animal species. Therefore, this PhD aims to analyse the PPN symbolic production, specifically animal and human representations, and will try to assess if anthro-zoomorphic symbolism fostered human inter- and intra-group social relationships and supported increasing levels of social cooperation and commitment.

Mattia's broader research interests relate to human socio-cultural evolution and social cognition. 

Research Funding

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

ResearchGate Profile