It is endowed with €80,000 and is the first private initiative in this field
Madrid, 26 November 2018 – The National Archaeological Museum of Spain has hosted the award ceremony for the first edition of the Palarq Foundation’s National Award for Archaeology and Paleontology to the project ‘Building Tartesos’, which sheds new light on the importance and extent of Tartessian culture, highlighting the discovery of a big animal sacrifice (hecatomb) in which 52 horses in an anatomical position stand out, being the first documentation of this type of ritual throughout the Mediterranean. The winning team is led by Dr. Sebastián Celestino Pérez and Dr. Esther Rodríguez González, archaeologists from the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and the Instituto de Arqueología (CSIC-Junta de Extremadura).
Presentation of the Award to the winners, Dr. Sebastián Celestino Pérez and Dr. Esther Rodríguez González (first and second from the left respectively), by Mr. Antonio Gallardo Ballart (first from the right), president of the Palarq Foundation, and Mr. Román Fernández-Baca, General Director of Fine Arts
The Palarq Foundation is a private, non-profit entity created to support Spanish Archaeological Missions abroad, excluding Europe, within a perspective that extends from the paleontological stage to prehistoric and historical periods of monumental interest. Its president is Mr. Antonio Gallardo Ballart and its director, Carolina Bähr Vollenweider. Established three years ago, it is present in 22 countries thanks to the support presented to Spanish research teams. In 2016 it supported 22 projects and in 2017 a total of 32 projects, all of them outside Spain and Europe. In this year’s call, 44 projects have been approved.
The event was attended by the Director General of Fine Arts, Mr. Román Fernández-Baca Casares; Mr. Andrés Carretero Pérez, Director of the National Archaeological Museum of Spain; Mr. Antonio Gallardo Ballart, President of the Palarq Foundation; Mr. Andrew Selkirk, member of the Jury and former Vice-President of the Royal Archaeological Institute and co-founder of the British Archaeology Award; Luis Monreal, Jury spokesman and Director General of the Aga Khan Foundation and Dr. Josep Guitart Duran, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and currently president of the international project Tabula Imperio Romano – Forma Orbis Romani, promoted by the Union Academique Internationale, as well as various authorities of the Regional Government of Extremadura.
The Prize is endowed with €80,000 and is the first private initiative to recognise the excellence and originality of Archaeological or Paleontological Projects, directed by Spanish research teams, and developed both nationally and internationally, without restrictions of cultures or historical periods. It is biennial in nature and has been awarded to those research teams belonging to a Spanish institution: universities, research institutes, CSIC, ICREA and related, who have been directing an Archaeology or Paleontology project in Spain, Europe and the rest of the world, in course at the time of the announcement of the Award.
The international Jury that chose the winning project last Friday, November 9, was part of it:
- Mr. Yves Coppens, was in 1974 one of the discoverers of Lucy, the famous Australopithecus found in Africa. Among many other distinctions he has received the Grand Prix scientifique from the Fondation de France.
- Mr. Andrew Selkirk, vice-president of the Royal Archaeological Institute and co-founder of the British Archaeology Award.
- Mr. Luis Monreal, Director General of the Aga Khan Foundation, Geneva.
- Mr. Pepe Serra Villalba, Director of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC).
- Mr. Josep Guitart Duran, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and currently president of the international project Tabula Imperio Romano – Forma Orbis Romani, promoted by the Union Academique Internationale.
- Mr. Jacinto Antón de Vez, National Award for Cultural Journalism awarded by the Ministry of Culture.
Five other projects were finalists out of a total of 25 applications submitted:
- The project “Paleobiology and Evolution of the Neanderthals of El Sidrón” which studies the large collection of fossils of the species Homo neanderthalensis recovered at this site, ideal for advancing the understanding of the complex universe of these humans. The project is directed by Dr. Antonio Rosas González from the Departamento de Paleobiología del Museo de Ciencias Naturales-CSIC
- The “Bastida Project” has revealed one of the first European civilizations, the so-called society of El Argar, which developed in the southeast of the peninsula some 4000 years ago. The recognition of an urban and state society in the western Mediterranean at the beginning of the Bronze Age has revolutionised the panorama of recent European Prehistory. Project directed by Dr. Vicente Lull Santiago, Dr. Rafael Micó Pérez, Dr. Cristina Rihuete Herrada and Dr. Roberto Risch from the Departamento de prehistoria de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.
- Archaeology of the sites of bed I of the Olduvai gorge, a research project directed by Dr. Manuel Domínguez Rodrigo and Dr. Enrique Baquedano Pérez of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid that focuses on research on the lower bed, the oldest in the Olduvai gorge (Tanzania). It is the continuation of the tasks initiated by the famous Leakey saga in the place known as “The Cradle of Humanity”, according to the name of UNESCO.
- The ILIT-AURO Project is the result of a long line of research on the Archaeology of Conflict, focusing on the archaeological analysis of the Second Punic War. Thanks to an avant-garde methodology, the project has managed to locate and analyze the Baecula Battlefield, where Scipio the African and Asdrubal Barca clashed in 208 BC. Project coordinated by Dr. Juan Pedro Bellón Ruiz, from the Universidad de Jaén.
- The Origins of Agriculture and Livestock in the Near East, led by archaeologist Miquel Molist Montaña of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona in Iraqi Kurdistan focuses on the study of important technological innovations that take place between 10,000 and 4,000 BC, covering the entire Neolithic period until the emergence of Mesopotamian state systems.
La Fundación Palarq es una entidad privada y sin ánimo de lucro que se crea con la finalidad de apoyar las Misiones Arqueológicas Españolas, dentro de una perspectiva que abarca desde la etapa paleontológica a las épocas prehistóricas y las históricas en interés monumental.