Cruz Ferro-Vázquez

Assistant Researcher

Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behaviour (ICArEHB)
FCHS, University of Algarve
Campus de Gambelas
8005-139 Faro

  (+351) 289 800 988

Associated researcher 

Department of Archaeology
University of York
King's Manor
YO1 7EP York
United Kingdom

Institute of Heritage Sciences
Spanish National Research Council
Avda de Vigo s/n
15780 Santiago de Compostela

Research Interests

My research builds on my previous research experience in soil science, paleoenvironmental reconstruction and archaeology for understanding the utilization of natural resources by past societies and its concomitant landscape evolution in the long run. This overall aim is approached as three sublines of research: 1) the study of human driven soil formation processes, under a wide spectrum of human activities and environmental conditions, including from extensive, low-intensity use to intensive exploitation; 2) the multi-proxy study of land management and resources use by past societies - historic and prehistoric - and related environmental changes and landscape evolution; and 3) developing and refining soil science methodologies for their use in archaeological contexts.

Short Bio

I hold a BSc in Biology, an MSc in Natural Resources and a PhD in Soil Sciences (2010) from the University of Santiago de Compostela. As a graduate research fellow, I combined my PhD research at USC with work as a research technician in archaeological projects at the Institute for Heritage Sciences (Incipit) of the Spanish National Research Council. My postdoctoral career started at Incipit, as a JAE-Doc postdoctoral fellow (2011). During that period, I have been a member of the Incipit’s Scientific Board and Coordinator of the Geoarchaeology Unit. In 2014, I earned a Marie Curie Fellowship for working at the Department of Archaeology of the University of York (UK), where I was hired as an Associate Researcher in 2017.
From May 2019, I am part of FLAME project team at ICArEHB, for investigating fire technology evolution through its effects on soils and sediments, as a way for understanding patterns of resource use in Palaeolithic societies.

Key Publications

• Ferro-Vazquez, C., Kaal, J., Santos-Arévalo,  F.J., and Criado-Boado, F. (2019). Molecular fingerprinting of 14C dated soil organic matter fractions from archaeological settings in NW Spain. Radiocarbon 61(1): 101-130. (2015 IF=4.6, Q1) Link

• Taboada, T., Ferro-Vazquez, C., Martínez Cortizas, A., Rodríguez Flores, R., Stoops, G. and Rodríguez-Lado, L. (2019). Soils of the Galapagos Islands: secondary aluminium, iron and silica phases across an altitudinal gradient in Isla Santa Cruz. European Journal of Soil Science (IF 3.475; 5/34 Soil Science) Link

• Marchant, R., Richer, S., Capitani, C., Courtney-Mustaphi, C., Prendergast, M., Stump, D., Boles, O., Lane, P., Wynne-Jones, S., Ferro-Vázquez, C.,  … and Williamson, D. (2018). Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to present. Earth-Sciences Reviews 178: 322-378. (IF 7.1; 5 years IF 9.1, Q1—3 of 188 in Geosciences, Multidisciplinary, CiteScore percentile 99%) Link

• Ferro-Vazquez, C., Lang, C., Kaal, J. and Stump, D. (2017). When is a terrace not a terrace? The importance of understanding landscape evolution in studies of terraced agriculture. Journal of Environmental Management 202(Part 3): 500-513. (IF 4.010; 5 years IF 4.712) Link

• Ferro-Vázquez, C., Rodríguez Perez, M., Nóvoa-Muñoz, J.C., Klaminder, J., Bindler, R. and Martínez Cortizas, A. (2017). Tracing Pb pollution penetration in temperate podzols. Land Degradation and Development 28(8): 2432-2445. (IF 9.787; 1/ 34 Soil Science; 6/225 Environmental Sciences) Link

• Martínez Cortizas, A., Rodríguez Lado, L., Ferro-Vázquez, C., Kaal, J., Biester, H., Costa Casais, M. and  Taboada, T. (2016). Bromine accumulation in acidic black colluvial soils. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 174: 143-155. (IF 4.609; 5 years IF 4.847) Link

• Taboada, T., Rodríguez Lado, L., Ferro-Vázquez, C., Stoops, G. and Martínez Cortizas, A. (2016). Chemical weathering in the volcanic soils of Isla Santa Cruz (Galápagos Islands, Ecuador). Geoderma 261: 160-168. Link

• Ferro-Vázquez, C., González Prieto, S., Martínez-Cortizas, A. and Criado Boado, F. (2015). Deciphering the evolution of agrarian technologies during the last ~1600 years using the isotopic fingerprint (δ13C, δ15N) of a polycyclic terraced soil. Quaternary Studies 12: 39-53. Link

• Lantes Suárez, Ó, Prieto Lamas, B., Prieto Martínez, P., Ferro Vázquez, C. and Martínez Cortizas, A. (2015). The colour of ceramics from Bell Beaker contexts in NW Spain: relation to elemental composition and mineralogy. Journal of Archaeological Science 54: 99-109. Elsevier. Link

• Ferro Vázquez, C., Martínez Cortizas, A., Nóvoa Muñoz, J.C., Ballesteros Arias, P. and Criado Boado, F. (2014). 1500 years of soil use from the chemical properties of a polycyclic terraced soil. Quaternary International 346: 28-40. Link

• Feal Pérez, A., Blanco Chao, R., Ferro Vázquez, C., Costa Casais, M. and Martínez Cortizas, A. (2014). Late Holocene storm imprint in a coastal sedimentary sequence (Northwest Iberian coast). The Holocene 24(4): 477-488. Link

• Ferro Vázquez, C., Nóvoa Muñoz, J.C., Costa Casais, M., Klaminder, J. and Martínez Cortizas, A. (2014). Metal and organic matter immobilization in temperate podzols: a high resolution study. Geoderma 217-218: 225-234. Link

• Kaal, J., Costa Casais, M., Ferro Vázquez, C., Pontevedra Pombal, X. and Martínez Cortizas, A. (2008). Soil formation of Atlantic Rankers” from NW Spain—A high resolution aluminium and iron fractionation study. Pedosphere 18(4): 441-453. Link



• Ferro Vázquez, C. (2011). Caracterización de la podzolización en ambiente boreal, templado y tropical y su influencia en la inmovilización de metales (Al, Fe y Pb). USC. ISBN 978-84-9887-603-1


Book chapters

• Cruz Ferro Vázquez, Juan Carlos Nóvoa Muñoz, Serafín González Prieto, Paula Ballesteros Arias and Antonio Martínez Cortizas (2013). Origin and evolution of the agricultural landscape in Santiago de Compostela from the properties of a polycyclic terraced soil. In: Science and Technology for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. CRC Press.

• Antonio Martínez Cortizas, Manuela Costa Casais, Joeri Kaal, Cruz Ferro Vázquez, Xabier Pontevedra Pombal and Willem Viveen (2013). De la geoquímica al paisaje: Composición elemental de los suelos. In: Criado-Boado, García Quintela y Martínez-Cortizas (Eds.). Petroglifos, paleoambiente y paisaje: Estudios interdisciplinares del arte rupestre de Campo Lameiro. 42, pp. 239 - 253. TAPA-CSIC.

• Cruz Ferro Vázquez, Manuela Costa Casais and Xabier Pontevedra Pombal (2013). La morfología de los suelos. In: Criado-Boado, García Quintela y Martínez-Cortizas (Eds.). Petroglifos, paleoambiente y paisaje: Estudios interdisciplinares del arte rupestre de Campo Lameiro. 42, pp. 227 - 237. TAPA-CSIC.

• Alfredo González Ruibal, Cruz Ferro Vázquez, Carlos Marín Suárez, LlorenÇ Picornell Gelabert and Manuel Sánchez-Elipe Lorente (2013). Excavaciones arqueológicas en la Isla de Corisco (Guinea Ecuatorial). Informes y Trabajos del IPCE. 9, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte.

• César Parcero Oubiña, Pastor Fábrega Álvarez, Cruz Ferro Vázquez, Andrés Troncoso Meléndez and Diego Salazar Sutil (2013). Trabajos en torno al pukara de Topaín (segunda región, Chile). Campaña 2011. Informes y Trabajos del IPCE. 9, pp. 58 - 85. Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte.

• Manuela Costa Casais, Antonio Martínez Cortizas, Xabier Pontevedra Pombal, Ion Berasategi Vinagre, Cruz Ferro Vázquez and Jose Rodríguez Racedo (2012). Evolución holocena do sector costeiro de Punta dos Pericos (Ribeira, A Coruña). In: A arte rupestre no norte do Barbanza. Andavira Editora, 2012. ISBN 978-84-8408-666-6

• Antonio Martínez Cortizas, Xabier Pontevedra Pombal, Juan Carlos Nóvoa Muñoz, Ricardo Rodríguez Fernández, José A. López Sáez, Cristina Ferrín Prieto, Cruz Ferro Vázquez, Manuela Costa Casais and José Rodríguez Racedo (2009). 7110 Turberas elevadas activas. In: Bases Ecológicas preliminares para la conservación de los tipos de hábitats de interés comunitario en España. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Medio Rural y Marino, 2009. ISBN 978-84-491-0911-9


I have participated in 17 competitive national and international research projects as well as in 21 non-competitive R&D contracts funded by public and private bodies, which make a track record of securing funding over €500,000.
See a list of selected projects below (PI= Principal investigator; Co-I= co-investigator: CV included in the application for funding; collaborator/advisor/researcher= CV not included in the project’s application):

• 2018-2020: Agricultura, comunidad y desierto. Prácticas agrícolas y organización comunitaria en la Atacama prehispánica Retos de Investigación: Proyectos I+D+i 2017: HAR2017-87951-R (co-I: €30,000).

• 2017: Sicily in transition. Exploring the Archaeology of Regime Change (SICTRANSIT). ERC Advanced Grant, Horizon 2020 Programme (field advisor).

• 2014-2018: The Archaeology of Agricultural Resilience in Eastern Africa (AAREA). ERC Starting Grant, 7th Framework Programme (collaborator and researcher).

• 2015-2017: Resistance and Resilience of Ancient Agricultural Soils (tRRACES). Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Horizon 2020 Programme (Experienced Researcher —equivalent to PI in the MSCA scheme, €195,455).

• 2014-2017: Comercio multicultural en el Este de África en perspectiva de larga duración (300-1800 D.C). Una aproximación arqueológica. Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (collaborator).

• 2011-2015: Agriculture and Empire in the High-Altitude Atacama Desert. US National Science Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation, National Geographic Society (co-I, €40,000).

• 2011-2014: Orígenes y evolución de la configuración del sistema agrario gallego mediante el estudio geoquímico de registros paleoambientales. Spanish National Research Council (PI, €150,000).

• 2010-2013: Paisajes fortificados en el Altiplano Andino: el pucara de Topaín. Dirección General de Bellas Artes y Bienes Culturales para proyectos arqueológicos en el exterior, Spanish Ministry of Science and Education (co-I, €15,000).

• 2010-2013: Respuesta de las turberas a los cambios climáticos del Pleistoceno Final y el Holoceno: zonas boreal, templada y tropical. Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (co-I, €121,000).

• 2010-2012: Arqueología en el estuario del Muni (Guinea Ecuatorial). Dirección General de Bellas Artes y Bienes Culturales para proyectos arqueológicos en el exterior, Spanish Ministry of Science and Education (co-I, €15,000).

• 2009-2012: Origins and spread of agriculture in the south-western Mediterranean region. Seventh Framework Programme. “Ideas” Specific programme European Research Council (collaborator).

• 2009-2012: Geoarqueología y Reconstrucción Paleoambiental. Metodología aplicada a contextos arqueológicos y culturales. Dirección General de I+D. Xunta de Galicia (co-I).

• 2007-2013: Research programme on technologies for the conservation and valorization of cultural heritage. Consolider – Ingenio 2010 Programme, Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (collaborator).

• 2007-2009: O papel dos solos acedos no secuestro de compostos haloxenados (de Cl, Br e I) e metais pesados (Pb). Dirección General de I+D. Consellería de Innovación Industria e Comercio. Xunta de Galicia (co-I, €60,030).

• 2005-2006: Plataforma Tecnológica para Arqueología y Patrimonio Cultural. European Regional Development Fund. Spanish Ministry of Science and Education. (co-I).

• 2004-2006: Paleopaisaxe e prehistoria do futuro Parque de Arte Rupestre de Campo Lameiro (Pontevedra). Dirección General de I+D. Xunta de Galicia (collaborator).

• 2003-2006: Reconstrucción de la evolución espacio-temporal de la contaminación atmosférica por metales pesados en el N de España. Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology (co-I)