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Durham University

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Dr Sonia Machause-López, PhD

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Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Archaeology

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I am currently an APOSTD-Generalitat Valenciana-European Social Fund Fellow in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University under the supervision of Professor Robin Skeates. I am particularly interested in the study of sensorial archaeology in caves and new methods to map them. My research project, “Ritual experiences in caves across material and immaterial aspects in the Iberian Iron Age (6th to 1st centuries BC)”, examines the hidden elements of ritual performance. I analyse not only the artefacts, the context and the sacred landscape, but also the sensitive and emotional experiences felt in these natural scenarios, considering their importance across time, their memories and the ancestors related to them.

I completed my PhD in 2017, with the dissertation Caves as ritual spaces in Iberian Iron Age: the cases of Kelin, Edeta and Arse, financed by a predoctoral fellowship from the University of Valencia(Atracció de Talent- VLC-CAMPUS).

I have participated in several archaeology projects, excavations and surveys. In 2018 and 2019 I codirected the excavation of Cueva del Sapo (Chiva, Valencia, Spain). This cave was used between the 5th and the 2nd centuries BC. A ritual use has been identified by the deposits of pottery, metals and faunal remains (reed der and ovicaprisds), but also by the presence of a unique funerary ritual of inhumation. 


PhD. Universitat de València, Spain - 2017.

MA Archaeology, Universitat de València, Spain - 2012.

BA (Hons) History, Universitat de València, Spain - 2010.

Research Interests

  • Cave archaeology
  • Iberian Iron Age
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Material culture studies
  • Rituals
  • Sensorial archaeology