Ursula Thun Hohenstein was born in Venice (Italy) in 1968. In 1995 she graduated in Natural Science (M.Sc. equivalent) at the University of Ferrara with a degree thesis in Anthropology, concerning the hominins subsistence strategies applied at Isernia La Pineta (Molise, southern Italy) through an experimental archaeological and taphonomical approach.
In 1995 she had an Erasmus fellowship at the Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, Museum national histoire naturelle of Paris, in which she approached to the study of faunal remains and trained in the excavation campaign of Grotte du Lazaret site (Nice, southern France). In 1996 she obtained a pre-doc fellowship at the University Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona (Spain) financed by the European Programme “Human Capital and Mobility” - Project “Early migrations”, for training on taphonomical and archaeozoological analysis of fauna assemblages and field excavations (Atapuerca and Abric Romani). From 1997/98 to 2000 she attended to the Doctorate with a grant by the Italian Ministry (MURST) and frequented the laboratory of archaezoology of several institution (Hebrew University – Israel; Tarragona University – Spain; Turin University; MNHN, Laboratoire du Lazaret e Museum de Tautavel - France) acquiring experience in archaezoological study and taphonomical bone surface modifications (both edafic and anthropic).
In 2001 she obtained the PhD in Anthropological Science – curriculum Human Palaeontology- with a thesis “Subsistence strategies and Neandertal behavior. Archaeozoological analysis of the Mousterian levels of Riparo Tagliente, Grotta della Ghiacciaia (Italia) e Abric Romaní (Spagna)”, that received the prize of “Better thesis” by the Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria.
From 2001-2006, she worked at the University of Ferrara, in a five years research, focusing on archaeozoological analysis and spatial distribution by GIS and taphonomical analysis through SEM analyses and in 2007 a post-doc fellowship at SISS of the University of Ferrara in order to project specific educational pathways devoted to the dissemination of Human Evolution.
Since 2007 she was recruited as research fellow in Anthropology (Ricercatore confermato BIO/08) at the University of Ferrara, Faculty of Science and afterwards Department of Humanities. In 2014 she obtained the National Academic Qualification as Associate Professor for Scientific Sector L-ANT/10 – Methodologies for archaeological research, and in 2018 (1st April) she will be employed at the University of Ferrara as Associate Professor at the Department of Humanities.
Her teaching activity (for Bachelor and Master students), started since 2004 as lecturer (Professore aggregato), focuses on Archaezoology, Human ecology, Human palaeontology and Scientific and Naturalistic Museology. She has been teaching in the School of Specialization for Secondary Education from 2001 to 2008, supervising thesis on Human evolution.
She has been carrying out researches, excavations and dissemination in the ambit of national project (COFIN, FAR, l.6/2000) and European programmes (HCM, Loredemo, Leader +, Erasmus Mundus) regarding the peopling of the Mediterranean basin, analyzing fauna remains of important Pleistocene sites.
She coordinates, as member of the scientific board, the field excavation and the research and analysis of faunal remains at the sites of Isernia La Pineta Riparo Tagliente (Verona), Guado San Nicola e Isernia La Pineta (Molise), Campestrin (Grignano Polesine, Rovigo).
She effectively collaborates with the Soprintendenze per i beni Archeologici di Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Molise, Trento ed Etruria meridionale per le analisi archeozoologiche e tafonomiche di insiemi faunistici provenienti da contesti preistorici, protostorici, di età romana e tardo antichi.
Since 2008 in agreement with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Veneto is leading researches on faunal remains from Bronze Age sites in Polesine, aimed at analyzing management and exploitation of animal resources and focusing on hard animal tissues manufacturing.
Since 2012 she started an innovative research project regarding amber processing at the Campestrin site, the only site in the Mediterranean basin with such evidences, establishing protocols of analysis and experimental archaeology. She collaborates with the Laboratory of Archeo-Anthropology, headed by Prof.ssa Emanuela Gualdi, analyzing taphonomical analysis on human remains.
She has collaborated with Prof.ssa Maysoon Al Nahar, Jordan University for faunal analysis of Tell Abu Suwwan (PPN-N site).
1991- 2014 She analysed many faunal assemblages coming from the following sites:
- Palaeolithic: Isernia La Pineta (IS, Molise), Monteroduni (IS, Molise), Atapuerca (Spain), Biqat Quneitra (Israele), Abric Romanì (Spain), Grotta Reali (IS, Molise) Grotta della Ghiacciaia (VR),
- Mesolithic: Mondeval de Sora (Belluno)
- Neolithic: Casalecchio (Bologna), Fornace Capuccini (Faenza), Scolo Gelmina (Gazzo Veronese)
- Bronze Age: Larino (Termoli), Bovolone, via Crosare (Verona), Larda (Gavello, Rovigo), Narde (Verona), Tombola (Verona), Le Vallette (Verona)
- Iron Age: abitato di Spina , Comacchio, via d’Azeglio (Bologna)
- Roman age: Chiunsano (Rovigo), Verdello (Bergamo), Parco Novisad (Modena)
-Late Antiquity: Necropoli di Vicenne-Campochiaro, analisi dei cavalli inumati.
Currently she studies:
Paleolithic: Isernia La Pineta (IS, Molise), Guado San Nicola (IS, Molise), Mezzena (Verona), Vajo Salsone (Verona).
Mesolithic: Le Mose (Bologna), Collecchio (Bologna), Mondeval de Sora (Belluno), Riparo Gaban (Trento)
Neolithic: San Biagio (Mantova), Casa Gazza (Travo, PC), Ponte Ghiara (Fidenza, PR), via Guidorossi (Bologna), Le Mose (Bologna)
- Bronze Age: Bovolone, via Pascoli (Verona), Campestrin (Rovigo), Narde II (Verona), Frattesina (Rovigo)
- Iron Age: Santuario di Ercole a Campochiaro (Campochiaro), Tempio sannitico a Pietrabbondante (Molise), Verrucchio (abitato)
Since 2012 she is director of the Museum of Palaeontology and Prehistory “Piero Leonardi” of the University of Ferrara and President of the management board of the Museum System of University (SMA) for the triennia 2013-16 and 2017-19, organizing dissemination activities concerning Prehistory and more broadly the scientific collections of University. Since 2017 she has been nominated pro-Rector for the SMA. She is local coordinator of two project (ACPR12_00312 and ACPR14T4_00249) financed by MIUR (l.6/2000) and coordinated by the University of Modena-Reggio Emilia (http://www.pomui.unimore.it/site/home/).
2016-today She is scientific co-director with Proff. A. Massarente e C. Vaccaro of the Project “Eridanus” in the ambit of the programme MuSST Musei e sviluppo dei sistemi territoriali announced by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism.

She edited 7 volumes (Proceedings, Pre-print, Journals), 50 papers (19 peer reviewed in International ISI Journal and 6 Classe A and 25 in non ISI but peer-reviewed Journal), 33 specific contribution in books and 59 congress proceedings. She serves as a reviewer for some several International ISI Journal and National Journal and for PhD commissions abroad. She is member of the Editorial board of Padusa (https://padusa.jimdo.com/), Annali dell’Università di Ferrara – sezione di Didattica e Formazione docente (ANVUR - Rivista di classe A per i settori 11/D1 e 11/D2; http://annali.unife.it/adfd) and chief-editor of Museologia scientifica e naturalistica degli Annali dell’Università di Ferrara (http://annali.unife.it/museologia/).
She has been supervisor of 10 of PhD thesis, (2 received the prize of best thesis) 51 degree thesis (Bachelor and Master), 2 of the receiving academic awards or prices. She is currently member of the PHd Board of the Doctorate in Human sciences, curriculum Quaternary and Prehistory, University of Ferrara. She speaks fluently English, French and Spanish. She is member of the Italian Archaezoological Society (AIAZ) Executive Board and ordinary fellow of the UISPP, ICAZ, ESHE, IIPP, AAI, AIAZ, CPSSAE). She is member of INR “European Network for Quaternary Taphonomy” (TaphEN) (dir. J.P. Brugal LAMPEA).