Josep Maria Palet has a PhD in History with a speciality in Archaeology from the University of Barcelona (1994). His doctoral thesis published in 1997 focused on the territorial study of the Plain of Barcelona in antiquity. It received various prizes for its contributions to methodology and adding to the understanding of how ancient territories were structured. He furthered his studies at the Universities of Provence (France) and Stockholm (Sweden). He is a specialist in landscape archaeology and studies of the territories of the ancient world; archaeomorphology and archaeological surveys; the archaeology of high mountain areas; socio-environmental interactions; agricultural areas; centuriation; rural settlement; stockbreeding; and heritage management.
In 1996 and 1997 he worked under the supervision of Professor Philippe Leveau at the University of Provence as a postdoctoral researcher in various projects focusing on areas of Lower and Upper Provence and the French Alps. From 1998 to 2005 he was an associate researcher of the UMR 6573 at the CNRS-University of Provence.
Between 1998 and 2002 he was a postdoctoral researcher and associate professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) where, with Professor Josep Guitart, he made a significant contribution to various territorial studies in different parts of Catalonia, especially in El Penedès and the Camp de Tarragona. He was jointly responsible for supervising the excavations at the Roman town of Iesso (Guissona) with the UAB archaeology team.
Since the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICAC) was set up in 2003, he has been its scientific advisor in the Landscape Archaeology, Population and Territory research field. Between 2004 and 2008 he was a researcher for the Ramon y Cajal programme at the ICAC. Since 2009 he has been an R4 senior researcher and head of the ICAC’s Landscape Archaeology Research Group (GIAP).
As a lead researcher he has participated in and led numerous national and international landscape archaeology projects in high mountain areas (Mont Lozère (France), Serra del Cadí, Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror (Andorra), Capçaleres del Ter-Ripollès, Alt Congost, Cerdanya and Montseny (Catalonia); and in agricultural areas on the plains (Camp de Tarragona, Penedès, Pla de Barcelona, Vallès, Plana de l’Empordà and Plana de València). His bibliography is extensive and includes books, educational material and articles in specialist journals. He has supervised several doctoral theses in the field of landscape archaeology.
He has extensive university teaching experience, especially on master’s degree and PhD courses. Since 1997 he has been an associate professor in the Humanities Department of the Open University of Catalonia.
From 2014 to 2018 he was ICAC deputy director under Professor Joan Gómez Pallarès and since July 2018 he has been acting director of the Institute.