Dr Miriam Cubas
Marie Curie Research Fellow



I completed my undergraduate at the University of Alcalá de Henares (Spain) and my DEA and PhD at the University of Cantabria (Spain). My PhD dissertation (2010) involved the mineralogical and chemical analysis of Neolithic pottery in the Cantabrian region (North of Spain). It was focused on the characterization of the different manufacturing processes as an approach to technology transfer mechanisms differentiating between the local and the foreign origin of the vessels allowing the connection of  this technology with the subsistence basis.

In 2015, I joined to the BioArCh group and the Department of Archaeology at the University of York as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow. My current research project (CerAM) is focused on the role of pottery in the transition to farming on the Atlantic Coast of Europe. By applying the latest chemical and molecular analysis we aim at reconstructing the use of pottery during this key transition of Atlantic Southern Europe. 


2015. Marie Curie Research  Fellow. BioArCh-Department of Archaeology. University of York

Project First ceramics of Atlantic Europe: manufacture and function (CerAM)

2013-2015. Postdoctoral Researcher. University of Cantabria

2011-2012. Fellow of the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria

2010. PhD. University of Cantabria

2009-2010. Predoctoral Researcher. University of Cantabria

2005-2009. Predoctoral Fellow. University of Cantabria



Main research interests

- Role of pottery technology in the transition to the farming practice in the Atlantic Coast of Europe. My research involves the analysis of organic residues at Atlantic shoreline sites from Portugal, Spain and France.

- Adaptation of the first farming groups to coastal environments. The last hunter-gatherers in the region were adapted to the coastal environments, my research evolves to analyse how these coastal adaptations were assumed by the first farming communities.

- Human adaptation to the environments of the Early Holocene in the Atlantic Coast of Europe.  My research involves the mineralogical analysis of the earliest pottery evidence in this area with the aim of establishing the dynamic of the introduction of this technology. 


First ceramics of Atlantic Europe: manufacture and function (CerAM)

The arrival of farming had important consequences on many aspects of human society, from health to ideology. The study of this process therefore constitutes a key theme in prehistory and archaeology. One of the traits traditionally associated with the transition to farming in Europe is the introduction of pottery technology. For centuries, archaeologists have documented the appearance and dispersal of ceramic vessels across the European continent, using them as a proxy for the shift to farming, domestication and sedentism, collectively known as the Neolithic transition. However, the role of pottery in the transition to farming is unclear. In other parts of world there are examples of both pre-farming pottery production and aceramic farming communities. With new research the basis that has underpinned centuries of Neolithic research is beginning to be questioned. Crucially, only by understanding the use and function of pottery can this technology be meaningfully linked to farming. By applying the latest chemical and molecular analysis, CERAM aims to reconstruct the use of pottery during this key transition focusing on the sequence of Atlantic Southern Europe


Contact details

Dr Miriam Cubas
Marie Curie Research Fellow
University of York
BioArCh, Environment Building
Wentworth Way
YO10 5DD

Tel: (44) 1904 328650


Full publications list


Cubas, M.  (2013) La aparición de la cerámica en la región Cantábrica. BAR International Series (2566). Oxford. (ISBN 9781407311876)



Fano, M.A.; Cubas. M.; Wood, R. (2015) The first farmers in Cantabrian Spain: contribution of absolute chronology to understand an historical process. Quaternary International, 364: 153-161.

Arias, P., Cubas, M., Fano, M. A., Jordá, J. F., Salzmann,  C:, Teichner, F., and Teira, L. C. (2015) Where are the “Asturian” dwellings? Preliminary results of an integrated survey programme on the late Mesolithic and the early Neolithic of northern Spain. Antiquity, 89: 783-789.


Cubas, M.; Doherty, C.;  García-Heras, M.; De Pedro, I.; Méndez, D.  and Ontañón, R. (2014) Pottery manufacturing during the Neolithic in the North of Spain. Raw material procurement and modification in the cave of Los Gitanos (Castro Urdiales, Spain). Archaeometry 56/S1: 19-35.

Álvarez-Fernández, E.; Altuna, J.; Barrera-Mellado, I.; Cubas, M.; Fernández-Gómez, Mª. J.; Fernández R.; Gruet, Y.; Mariezkurrena, K. & Ontañón, R. (2014) Évolution de l’exploitation des ressources animales dans la région cantabrique entre 4500 et 2000 cal BC : la grotte de Los Gitanos (Cantabrie, Espagne). Comptes Rendus Palevol 13: 307-316.


Cubas, M. , R. Bolado del Castillo, E. Pereda Rosales y P. Fernández de la Vega (2013) La cerámica en Cantabria desde su aparición (5000 cal BC) hasta el final de la Prehistoria: técnicas de manufactura y características morfo-decorativas (The pottery in Cantabria since its apparition (5000 cal BC) to the end of the Prehistory: manufacturing, techniques and morphodecoratives characteristics). Munibe (Antropologia-Arkeologia) 64: 69-88.


Cubas, M.; García-Heras, M.; Méndez, D.; De Pedro, I; Zapata, L.; Ibáñez, JJ y González, J. E. (2012) La tecnología cerámica de los niveles IV y III en el yacimiento de Kobaederra (Cortézubi, Vizcaya). Aprovisionamiento y modificación de las materias primas (Pottery technology of levels IV and III in Kobaederra site (Cortézubi, Vizcaya). Supply and modification of raw materials). Trabajos de Prehistoria 69/1: 51-64.


Álvarez-Fernández, E.; Chauvin, A.; Cubas, M.; Arias, P. & Ontañón, R. (2011) Mollusc shell sizes in archaeological contexts in northern Spain (13,200 to 2,600 cal bc): new data from La Garma A and Los Gitanos (Cantabria). Archaeometry 53/5: 963-985.

Cubas, M.  y Fano, M. (2011). Los primeros campesinos del Cantábrico: una revisión de la información disponible y de los modelos propuestos (Early farmers in Cantabrian Spain: a review of the available data and the proposed models). Férvedes 7: 77-86.


Cubas, M. (2009) Tendencias en la investigación de la cerámica neolítica en la  región cantábrica (Trends on the research about Neolithic pottery in the Cantabrian region). Munibe (Antropologia-Arkeologia) 60: 187-200.

Cubas, M. y Ontañón, R. (2009) The material evidence of the “production sequence”. The case of the pottery ensemble of Los Gitanos cave (Castro Urdiales, Cantabria, Spain). Journal of the Iberian Archaeology 12: 7-22.


Cubas, M. (2008) La producción cerámica en la primera mitad del V milenio cal BC: el caso de la Región Cantábrica (Pottery production during the first half of the V millennium cal BC: the example of the Cantabrian region). In Hernández, M. et al. (eds.) IV Congreso del Neolítico Peninsular: 282-289. Alicante: Museo de Arqueología de Alicante

External activities


Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi (2010-present)


I collaborate with several projects in Portugal, Spain and Argentina funded by different National and International Institutions. Also, my current project includes the organic residue analysis of three geographical areas: Portugal, Spain and France.