Paola Villa is an Italian archaeologist with a doctorate in Classical Archaeology (University of Rome) and a Ph.D. in Prehistoric Archaeology (University of California at Berkeley). She was full professor at the University of Bordeaux in France for five years. She is currently based at the Museum of the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has done research on the early phases of European prehistory, bone taphonomy and cannibalism. Between 2003 and 2012 she has done research on the Middle Stone Age of South Africa and more recently on hunting weapons and changes in lithic technology of Neandertals and modern humans in Italy.
She has published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, Journal of Human Evolution, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Anthropological Research and PLOS One. Her work has been supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation, the Leakey Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and grants from South Africa and France.