Our Team

Being a GMAP team members means being part of a international collaborative project, built upon equality, inclusiveness, participation, and...fun.

Rocco Palermo

Project Director / Archaeologist

Rocco Palermo is Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College (USA). He is a landscape archaeologist interested in the long-term transformation of pre-modern imperial structures, from the Iron Age to late Antiquity, in South-West Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean. He obtained his joint PhD from the University of Naples Federico II and Université de Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne. He has taught in Italy, the Netherlands and USA. Rocco carried out extensive fieldwork in South-West Asia, and particularly in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Oman. He is the author of On the Edge of Empires. Northern Mesopotamia during the Roman Period. He is currently working on a book for Cambridge University Press preliminarily titled: The Archaeology of Imperial Durability. South-West Asia from Assyria to Rome. 

Nathalie Brusgaard


Associate Director /Archaeologist

Nathalie Brusgaard is a Post-Doc Researcher at the University of Groningen. She is an archaeologist specialised in the study of human-animal relationships and human-landscape interactions. .
Nathalie obtained her PhD from Leiden University in 2019 for her research on the rock art of nomadic herders in the Black Desert of Jordan in the late first millennium BC/early first millennium AD. 

Prior to this she obtained a Research MA (summa cum laude) in Northwestern European Prehistory from Leiden University. 

Nathalie has carried out fieldwork projects in the Netherlands, Germany, Jordan, Iraq, and the US. She has also worked at the National Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands. 

Aila Santi


Aila Santi is an archaeologist and architectural historian of the early Islamic world, currently completing a Newton International Postdoctoral Fellowship at SOAS University of London. Her research, combining archaeological research methods with in-depth study of historical sources, explores the formation and development of the Muslim elite’s monumental language in the central lands of the caliphate between the rise of Islam and the decline of the Umayyad power (ca. 622-750). A PhD graduate in archaeology from Sapienza University of Rome, she has participated in several archaeological missions in Italy and abroad, including in Uzbekistan, Oman, Lebanon, and Iraq. 


Marta Doglio


Marta Doglio is an archaeologist who works in South-West Asia. She obtained her MA degree at the University of Pisa with a thesis on the Alişar IV pottery production in Anatolia during the Middle Iron Age and she is currently working on graduate school applications. 

She is a member of different archaeological projects based in Turkey and Iraq. Her major scientific interest is the investigation of the political and cultural phenomena that occurred during the 1st millennium BCE in the macro region that includes south-western Turkey and norther Iraq, with a specific focus on ceramic data and spatial analyses.

Lara Pucci Daniele

Student of Archaeology

Lara is a MA student at University of Pisa, currently writing a thesis on Mesopotamian demons. She completed her BA degree in Cultural Heritage at the University of Bologna.  On summer 2022 Lara took part at the Gird-i Matrab excavation project, in Iraqi Kurdistan; on spring 2023 she will be part of the team of the Italian mission at Uşaklı Höyük (MAIAC), in central Anatolia (Turkey). Lara is particularly interested in the material culture of the Ancient Near East.

Valentina Grasso

Archaeologist/Ancient Historian

Valentina A. Grasso is an Assistant Professor of Semitics at The Catholic University of America in Washington (D.C.) She holds a Ph.D. (Divinity, 2021) from the University of Cambridge, where she completed her doctoral dissertation which will come out as a monograph ("Pre-Islamic Arabia. Societies, Politics, Cults and Identities during Late Antiquity") published by Cambridge University Press in 2023. She is currently working on her second monograph while co-editing a volume on Indic imagery (Brepols 2024) and a special issue on Arabian epigraphy and Early Islam.

Gabriele Viola


Gabriele Viola graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pisa and the prestigious Scuola Normale Superiore in Classics and Archaeology. He is now enrolled in the the post-grad School of Archaeology of the University of Pisa. Gabriele is a Classicist with a strong interest in field archaeology. He is particularly interested in the archaeological reconstruction of Roman period warfare and weaponry. He has carried out archaeological excavation and survey in Calabria and Tuscany, before joining the GMAP team in 2022.

Michele La Porta

Student of Archaeology

Michele is a MA student at the University of Pisa, he completed his bachelor degree in Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Enna ‘’Kore’’ (Sicily). He is currently writing his thesis on the transition  from the late Bronze to the Iron Age in northern Iraq. He is also focusing on software and hardware-related applications in Archaeology, such as 3d Modelling and Landscape Imagery. He has taken part in multiple excavations and surveys in Sicily before joining the 2022 GMAP expedition in the Erbil plain. 

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