Vella, Emily

emily.vella@arkeologi.uu.seEmily Vella



I joined the faculty of Archaeology at Uppsala University in October 2019 as an Early Stage Research/PhD student with the TerraNova project (MSCA-ITN funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme). I am passionate about issues of sustainability, identity, representation, and stewardship within archaeology. I primarily enjoy working with various digital technologies, including LiDAR, GIS, photogrammetry, ABM, and R, among others. I completed an Honours BA at Wilfrid Laurier University back home in Canada in 2017. In 2018 I graduated with an MSc from Leiden University in Digital Archaeology. My research interests include landscape archaeology, digital archaeology, FOSS and FAIR, and data management.

In my research I investigate land-use and human-environment interactions in Romania and the differences between the Carpathian Mountain uplands and the Danube Delta lowlands. This is a particularly interesting region because of the complex and sensitive fluvial systems and the rich archaeological records. The most important aspect of my research is to do ‘good science’. I define this as using the best tools for the job and the best tools available, allowing my research to be replicated, being transparent and accessible, and publishing my results in an accessible way. Secondarily, I aim to be sustainable.

With the TerraNova project, I have numerous responsibilities. I am primarily an ESR (Early Stage Research) 5, with a project titled Balancing Nature and Culture in Southeast European Landscape Evolution and Integrated Legacies. Within the TerraNova framework, I am contributing archaeological data from Romania to other ESRs working with palynological models and agent-based models on the European scale. I am also collaborating with Kailin Hatlestad and Alexandre Martinez on comparing archaeological data from Romania, Sweden/Germany/The Netherlands, and Portugal/Spain, respectively.  In addition, I am responsible for the TerraNova blog and for supervising the TerraNova social media accounts. At the Archaeology department at UU, I am a member of the Global Historical Ecology cluster and organized a successful online introductory workshop in R and statistics for archaeologists. I enjoy working with the TerraNova project at Uppsala University because it gives me the opportunity to explore sustainability within archaeology by using digital technologies. Outside of academia, I enjoy watching the Toronto Blue Jays, reading fantasy books, and playing softball and volleyball.

To find out more about the TerraNova Poject visit:, our facebook page, or twitter account. The TerraNova Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 813904.

Supervisors: Dr. Karl-Johan Lindholm (UU), Dr. Daniel Löwenborg (UU), Dr. George Bodi (ARFI Romania), Dr. Orieta Hulea (WWF Romania)


Vella, Emily 2018. Foss Forward: Using Open Data and Free and Open Source Software to Document the Terraces in the Lower Engadine, Switzerland. Master Thesis, Leiden University