Madrid

Y cuando termina la excavación… ¿qué sucede con los objetos aparecidos?

Desde la Asociación Madrileña de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras en Arqueología (AMTTA) (Ver BLOG)  hemos decidido participar en esta iniciativa global, como ya hiciéramos en 2012 (http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/difundiendo-el-patrimonio-madrileno/  y  http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/amttas-dayofarch-a-short-english-version/) con una pequeña aportación que intenta acercar parte del trabajo arqueológico a todo el mundo. ¿Dónde se guarda lo que aparece en una excavación? Sin duda es una pregunta que nos han hecho más de una vez en nuestra trayectoria profesional.

El proceso arqueológico es largo y además del trabajo de campo el estudio posterior de los materiales se vuelve fundamental. La última etapa del proceso, el colofón es el depósito definitivo de los hallazgos en un Museo público (como así lo estipula diversa legislación española).

Hemos creído que la mejor manera de ilustrar esto es con un modesto vídeo que de un modo resumido va repasando el proceso.

Ver VIDEO

En este caso vemos buena parte del proceso en distintos escenarios de Madrid, una excavación de ARQUEOESTUDIO en Arganda del Rey; el trabajo de laboratorio en la UNED; y como el recorrido culmina en el MAR (Museo Arqueológico Regional) donde los materiales se encuentran custodiados y en algunos casos expuestos en una vitrina.

En estos mismos días AMTTA ha sacado también a la luz su boletín A PICO Y PALA que va ya por su número 9 (DESCARGAR) y que viene cargado de noticias para todos los públicos.

Al final, una semana ajetreada para celebrar un día como este y gracias a #DayofArch, la oportunidad de compartirlo con toda la sociedad.

Arqueología como proceso cultural, como conocimiento científico, como rentabilidad social y como responsabilidad pública.

“La Arqueología entra en contacto con el hombre común, además de con los documentos de las clases políticas dirigentes (…) y la historia no es ya sólo la historia de los grandes hombres y de sus guerras, sino la historia de los pueblos” (R. BIANCHI BANDINELLI, 1982)

 

¡¡NOS VEMOS EL PRÓXIMO AÑO!!

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facebook.com/AMTTA.Arqueologia

@AMTTArq

amttarqueologia@yahoo.es

 

Excavaciones Arqueológicas en Pinilla del Valle (Comunidad de Madrid, España)

Excavaciones en Pinilla del ValleExcavaciones en Pinilla del Valle

El Museo Arqueológico Regional ha sido el impulsor de la creación de un nuevo equipo de investigación interdisciplinar para intervenir en los yacimientos del Calvero de la Higuera, en Pinilla del Valle (Madrid).

Descubierto en 1979 el primero de los yacimientos, la Cueva del Camino, fue excavado entre 1980 hasta 1989 por un equipo de la Universidad Complutense dirigido por F. Alférez. Desde 2002 viene siendo excavado por el equipo de investigación dirigido actualmente por Juan Luis Arsuaga (UCM-Carlos III), Enrique Baquedano (MAR) y Alfredo Pérez-González (UCM). Resultado de las primeras intervenciones es el descubrimiento de este enclave de gran interés paleontológico de unos 80.000 años de antiguedad. Además, entonces se descubrieron los dos primeros molares de Homo neanderthalensis. Fruto de los trabajos desarrollados por el equipo actual de investigación, es la constatación de que este yacimiento se trata de un cubil de hienas.

El Abrigo de Navalmaíllo, por su parte, fue descubierto en 2002. A diferencia de la Cueva del Camino, éste se trata de un campamento de neandertales. Fechado entre 70 y 77.000 años, conserva los restos de las actividades que grupos de homínidos realizaron aprovechando el abrigo de la roca. Aquí se conserva un interesante conjunto de industria lítica musteriense, principalmente realizada en cuarzo, que es el material más abundante en los alrededores, así como una rica asociación faunística producto del consumo de esos homínidos. Hay que destacar la preeminencia de especies de herbívoros sobre los carnívoros que están aquí escasamente representados.

La Cueva de la Buena Pinta, descubierta en 2003, al igual que ocurre con la Cueva del Camino fue usada como cubil de hienas durante el Pleistoceno. Estas introdujeron los restos faunísticos que muestran las marcas típicas de la actividad de carnívoros, así como abundantes coprolitos y restos de hienas inmaduras. Hay que destacar que durante la campaña de 2007 fueron localizados en el nivel 3 de la cueva dos molares de la especie Homo neanderthalensis pertenecientes al mismo individuo.

Por último, y en 2009, se descubrió otro complejo de galerías que se ha denominado Cueva Des-Cubierta. Al igual que ocurre con los tres anteriores, se trata de antiguas galerías rellenas por sedimentos fosilíferos. Aún está pendiente de datación y los restos de fauna e industria obtenidas aún son objeto de estudio. Sin embargo, lo más destacable de estos rellenos es la aparición en 2011 de varios restos dentales infantiles que, al igual que en los otros dos yacimientos, pertenecen a la especie Homo neanderthalensis.

Aproximadamente desde el 15 de agosto al 15 de septiembre de cada año se llevan a cabo excavaciones de verano en los yacimientos del Calvero de la Higuera. Estos días estamos preparando ya la próxima campaña y puedes ver este video de Javier Trueba sobre las excavaciones de 2011.

Copyright © Museo Arqueológico Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid

Excavaciones arqueológicas en El Llano de la Horca (Santorcaz, Comunidad de Madrid, España)

SANTORCAZ19_altaExcavaciones en Llano de la Horca

En Santorcaz, mucho antes de que la princesa de Éboli fuera allí encerrada y de que las Crónicas de un pueblo deleitaran a toda una generación, antes incluso de que Santorcaz tuviera ese nombre y de que la memoria escrita reviviera acontecimientos históricos sucedidos en este madrileño rincón, entre los siglos III y I a.C. los últimos carpetanos que, a pesar del imparable proceso de romanización, mantuvieron su identidad y sus señas indígenas, ocupaban un cerro estratégicamente situado.

Hoy día conocemos ese cerro como El Llano de la Horca y es uno de los yacimientos de cuya excavación, investigación e interpretación se encarga el Museo Arqueológico Regional, en una intervención programada desde el año 2001 y codirigida por Enrique Baquedano, Gabriela Martens y Miguel Contreras, técnicos del Museo y por Gonzalo Ruiz Zapatero, Catedrático de Prehistoria de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Cuando comenzamos nuestras excavaciones teníamos algunas referencias sobre este asentamiento de la Segunda Edad del Hierro, pero ya desde el principio se barajaba la idea de crear un Parque Arqueológico, con lo cual se eligió este yacimiento porque reunía, además, unas condiciones excepcionales. Por ejemplo, se encuentra en una localidad  de fácil acceso desde las carreteras A-2 y A-3 y conserva un entorno no demasiado transformado por la acción humana en el que se puede entrar en contacto con la flora y la fauna típicas alcarreñas. Por otra parte, los restos exhumados en excavaciones más antiguas parecían indicar que la última ocupación del yacimiento no era romana y, por tanto, la nueva intervención podía proporcionar una valiosa información sobre sus habitantes carpetanos, que son los grupos prerromanos que ocupaban parte de los actuales territorios de Madrid y Castilla-La Mancha y de los que tan pocos datos se conocen.

Los espectaculares resultados que con las sucesivas campañas de excavación se fueron obteniendo, nos proporcionaron información sobre el elaborado trazado urbano de este asentamiento, con calles que se cruzan formando manzanas de grandes casas adosadas. Se han diferenciado varios niveles de ocupación superpuestos que evidencian remodelaciones o cambios de funcionalidad en las estructuras habitacionales excavadas. Y contamos con el abultado ajuar doméstico que tras el último abandono del poblado quedó enterrado hasta que, casi dos mil años después, nos propusimos rescatarlo con metodología científica.

Todos estos datos corroboran la idea primera de creación de un Parque Arqueológico que en un futuro verá la luz. Nos dará la posibilidad de volver a escribir con trazo firme este pequeño capítulo de nuestra Historia poniéndonos en contacto directo con aquellos carpetanos: poder pisar sus anchas calles empedradas y deambular por sus casas de piedra y adobe de tres habitaciones, saber qué tareas realizaban de forma habitual, saber que se habían aplacado sus, así relatadas, ansias belicosas y que se dedicaban a labrar sus tierras y a criar una importante cabaña ganadera, que transformaban, moliendo, tejiendo o fermentando, la materia prima obtenida, que eran alfareros y trabajaban el metal con gran precisión, que comerciaban y usaban monedas y apreciaban los productos de valor obtenidos con el intercambio… En fin, conocer la vida cotidiana de los habitantes de esta auténtica ciudad prerromana cuyo nombre real aún permanece anónimo pero a la que, con el día a día de nuestro trabajo arqueológico, intentamos colocar en el sitio que le corresponde.

Copyright © Museo Arqueológico Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid

Medieval Castle of Zorita, Spain

P1350271Along the Tajo River around 90km east of Madrid, the ArchaeoSpain High School Field School is excavating the Medieval Castle of Zorita. The castle, said to have never been conquered by force, was built in the beginning of the 9th century as a Moorish fortress for Mohammed I of the Omayyad Dynasty of Córdoba. According to the Persian physician and writer Al-Razi, the Moors used the stones from the nearby abandoned Visigothic city of Recópolis to construct the walls. In 1174, the castle was given to the Order of Calatrava, one of Spain’s most famous group of knights. Zorita became the Order’s headquarters from the end of the 12th to the beginning of the 13th centuries. Our students, hailing from the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Canada, update us on their progress in units next to a Romanesque chapel inside the castle walls.

Samantha Odrowaz-Sekely, 16, Toronto, Canada:
For the past two weeks I have participated in the ArchaeoSpain program excavating at Castillo de Zorita de los Canes, in Guadalajara, Spain. This castle has a magnificent history: it was built by Arabs in the 9th century, then taken over by Christians, and it fell into the possession of the Calatrava Order. The most remarkable and thrilling find so far was a nearly complete skeleton. We found a skull, with a roof tile embedded in the head, in the first stratigraphic layer. As we continued digging around the skull, we uncovered a nearly complete skeleton! The skeleton, dubbed Rodrigo, was identified as male based on his hip structure. Rodrigo was missing both of his patellas, but was otherwise almost complete. We used small, delicate brushes to remove as much soil as possible while still providing the necessary amount of support for the skeleton. When it was time to remove Rodrigo, each set of bones was removed, starting with the left foot bones, and continued until the skull. Each set of bones was put in a separate bag, with a label to identify the bones. Overall, it is a truly exciting project!
Juan Merino, 17, Valencia, Spain:
We are a group of seven students and two professors who are digging in Zorita castle, in Guadalajara, Spain. The day starts at 6:30, with a quick breakfast and we immediately go up to the castle to start digging at 7:00. Today we were very excited because we were going to take “Rodrigo,” the skeleton we found a few days ago, out of his tomb. It was easier than expected, because Rodrigo’s tomb was only a hole in the ground, and a professional anthropologist helped us. Step by step, all the bones were put in boxes, one for the head, another for the left arm, etc. After a few minutes, the skeleton disappeared in front of my eyes, much faster than it had appeared.  This experience was very exiting for me. In fact, it’s completely different from high school and I can’t stop feeling happy and very interested about all that is happening these days at the site. It’s really an adventure.
Madison Taylor, 16, Knoxville, Tennessee:
Today is the tenth day of our three-week-long excavation of the Castillo de Zorita de los Canes in Guadalajara, Spain. I worked with Kate to clean and to excavate Layer 104, and to attempt to puzzle together what the small room could have been used for.
Layer 104 is in the northeastern corner of area 2 and approximately two and a half meters by three and a half meters. Layer 104 is surrounded by walls (units 105 and 106) that consist of stone and Roman-style plaster and was the first thing we cleaned with brushes and small picks. The dirt throughout the unit was a dark beige color and was very dry, sandy, and dusty and contained many rocks and river stones ranging in size from a half a centimeter radius to 15 cm in length; the rocks made scraping the surface of Layer 104 difficult at times. Also, there are many pieces of charcoal and gypsum ranging in size from grainy dust to 3 centimeters in length. Roof tiles exist throughout the sandy layers and into the layers underneath. Toward the center of the unit is a piece of iron about 12 centimeters long and three jawbones and other bones of goats and sheep. We removed the animal bones but left the iron, waiting to remove it with the earth around it intact tomorrow. We scraped away approximately 3-5 centimeters off of the surface of unit 104 using picks and trowels and brushes. Many more bones were found; all of the bones found are likely animal because we have only found animal skulls and each intact, recognizable bone is animal. Sometimes, there were pieces of charcoal beneath the bones.
Also found were many pieces of ceramic. Smooth, plain, clay-colored shards to large chunks of green and manganese pottery were found. Some pieces had ripples on one facet. The green and manganese plate pieces that were found had a white background with black and white striped patterns in the shape of an eye and spots and shapes of a bluish-green. These pieces are thought to be Arab because of the color and pattern. Also found were pieces of glass about a centimeter in length and very thin and unclear, and iron nails. Overall, ceramic outweighed any find in numbers; about fifty or more pieces were uncovered. Layer 104 contains many different types of objects from animal bones to shards of ceramic to glass to iron. This leads one to believe that this area may have been a rubbish pit. The unit is between the wall of a church and a room, and it is isolated and comparably small, and yields no whole skeletons or whole ceramic vessels. We will continue to excavate to find out if this was a rubbish pit and what was thrown away. The objects inside this unit may tell us who used this pit, what the people of the castle ate, what they used as vessels, and what they burned to cook or fuel a flame with (charcoal). The structure next to the rubbish pit is thought to be a room for a castle prior or priest; this might also help us understand what this corner was used for.
Kate Hodge, 17, Henderson, Kentucky:
Today we began by excavating around a house-shaped structure. I was digging in the stratigraphic layer 104, which is outside the walls of the house in the northeastern corner of Area 2.kate
My goal was to dig down through 104 to see if the two flanking walls had an end point. This question has not yet been answered, as the trench is not deep enough to tell. Layer 104 has gray-white colored soil that is very light, sandy, and extremely dry. The soil frequently yields white, flaky gypsum and chunks of charcoal that are 0.5 to 3 centimeters in diameter. We have found many bone and pottery fragments along with some iron and glass in this layer as well. All of the bone fragments are presumably animal because the most recognizable ones belonged to a sheep or goat. The pottery ranges in color from white, to green-blue, to black. Many of the pieces lack decoration, but some have geometric patters painted or stamped on. This layer is thought to be a trash area because of the volume of random pottery shards, charcoal lumps, iron pieces, and bone fragments.
Sydney Comstock, 16, Kensington, Maryland:
Today was just like any other day on the site, exciting and fascinating. As always, the walk up to Zorita Castle was filled with beautiful views, but the site was where the real finds were waiting.Sydney
The team continued digging in Trench Two, which turned into a room from a few large rocks that begged for us to investigate them. The doorway is facing west with a fireplace in the eastern end of the structure. After brushing and excavating the walls, the team started in on the floor. Working on the southern end of the room was tough going, the soil was quite compact with a sandy brown coloring. Using a little pick, I slowly began to level out stratigraphic Layer 102, which contained pieces of rocks, white gypsum, and some pottery fragments. As I was troweling out the pieces of ground I had just excavated, something didn’t fit in with the light brown coloring of the surroundings. A white, smooth stone had revealed itself and shone differently than all the usual finds. I picked it up and approached the director of the site. Immediately his face lit up and as he showed it to the other director she let out a squeal. As they explained to me that I had stumbled upon an ax head from the Neolithic age! I couldn’t believe it. I had held something thousands of years old and it had survived those many years to tell its story. The room, located directly next to the church, was presumed by our director to be a home of a priest who probably owned the stone. These smooth pieces that were made into ax heads were revered by the many people in the medieval age and were considered to have magical powers. The stone itself was about seven centimeters with a dull but cut edge. On the opposite end of the rock a chip was made so it could be attached to a stick by tying it with leather. This could not have been a greater start to the day.
The rest of the time was spent working on Layer 111 at the western end of the room by the doorway. Although finding the ax head was by far the highlight of my workday, excavating in this new layer was exciting as well. Here, the soil had contained many medieval roof tiles that had fallen when the ceiling collapsed. Those were photographed, drawn, and removed. This layer was also filled with charcoal and white gypsum, giving it an Oreo-like effect. The soil surrounding it was much darker and although it had a sandy feel, a small pick was needed for the firm parts. Altogether the day had been a great one, filled with interesting finds and new information. I wonder what will be discovered tomorrow.

A day at Complutum Roman city (Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain)

Complutum-regioII-01

Aerial view of ‘Regio II’, opened to the public in 2012

Complutum was an important Roman city at the center of Spain, 50 Has large, built during Claudius reign but with a great development between the 3rd and 5th c. AD. After important excavations during Spanish Siglo de Oro, it was almost forgotten along 19 and 20th centuries. It was re-discovered  in the 1980’s and last years´ works. Under the management of archaeologists Sebastián Rascón Marqués and Ana Lucía Sánchez Montes, it has reached  important finds about urbanism and public and private constructions. The project, supported by different grants (Alcalá de Henares City Council -Alcalá was Miguel de Cervantes born place and is also a World Heritage Site-; Regional Government of Madrid; and different Ministries of the Spanish Government) includes the research, preservation of the site and the opening of some places to the public: casa de Hippolytus, in 1999, forum in 2009 and regio II in 2012.

This year of 2013, the Day of Archaeology finds us working on casa de los Grifos, a special domus near Complutum forum, that has been dug continuously since 2004: a classic peristylum house of 900 sq meters plus porticoes, with an important collection of Roman wall painting. The house was ruined in the 3th c., maybe when they were working, and was never reconstructed. This allows us to find almost the whole house painted decorations, and lots of data about everyday Roman life, covered in the ruins of ancient roofs.

In 2013 we are carrying three different works: the main one is the excavation and restoration of ambulacrum South and ambulacrum West, in the peristylum. Plus the catalogue of wall paintings from some rooms, and specific excavations of Classics Department from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. So, a group of about 20 people will be working at Casa de los Grifos from May to September.

Complutum-CG-06

Documenting a strata at Casa de los Grifos


AMTTA’s #DayofArch (A Short English version)

*This is a summary of our post in Spanish for non-Spanish readers

When we decided to join Day of Archaeology, we felt we needed to do something special. AMTTA was born in 2007 to try dignify our sector, so we spended four years drafting a labour agreement for Madrid… that adventure failed (at least as we programmed it), so we put a larger effort in our outreach activities and other objectives.

Among them, our star project for the coming years was ‘Combates por la Historia‘ (Combats for History). We aimed to create and promote different routes in order to value and socialuze hidden, forgotten and destroyed heritage in Madrid. The first of the routes is ‘Campus de Batalla’ (Battle Campus) about the remains of the fights in Ciudad Universitaria during the Spanish Civil War. We used the information of the research conducted in 2008 [see blog of the team]. The only remaining memory of the conflict is the one represented by the fascist monuments in Moncloa and the Campus. Nobody wanted to recover the memory of the conflict itself, so we decided to use the materials available (as some of our members take part in the research group) and do it ourselves as a starting point for our project.

This is what we presented the 29th, the project and the route, with a guided tour to the 7 points we chose and the placement of several posters with info of each point.

En el punto 4

EN EL ARCO DE LA VICTORIA

[You can follow the route in images here]

In the afternoon, we participated in a round table about heritage and the crisis, organized by a platform we joined this month, Madrid Ciudadanía y Patrimonio, showing our worry about the moral and economic crisis that is affecting archaeology after the ‘building boom’ of the 90s and 20s. In this context, we wanted to introduce a debate about a new law that the regional government of Madrid is planning, which lives the door open to the destruction of cultural (especially archaeological) heritage [see news in Spanish]. Once again heritage is the victim of negligent politicians.

[see photos of the event here – by MCyP]

 Anyway, you can follow us at:

amtta.blogspot.com

facebook.com/AMTTA.Arqueologia

@AMTTArq

See you next year!

 

Difundiendo el Patrimonio Madrileño

Desde la Asociación Madrileña de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras en Arqueología (AMTTA) hemos decidido inaugurar el proyecto “Combates por la Historia” el 29 de junio con motivo del Día de la Arqueología. Se trata de una serie de rutas arqueológicas por Madrid organizadas por periodos históricos (paleolítico, medieval islámico, contemporáneo, etc.) para que la sociedad pueda conocer los restos que han sido excavados en su calle, en su barrio, en su municipio, y que nunca se han publicado ni señalizado. En la mayoría de los casos permanecen enterrados o ya han sido por completo “destruidos científicamente”. Para rescatar la memoria de estos yacimientos ocultos hemos generado una serie de carteles explicativos que se irán colocando en los diferentes puntos de cada ruta [ver blog].

Nuestra primera ruta la llamamos “Campus de Batalla”, y tiene por objeto dar a conocer los restos de la Guerra Civil que se conservan en el campus de la Universidad Complutense. En el 2008 se realizó una campaña de prospección, excavación, documentación de impactos en las fachadas de los edificios históricos del campus, investigación en archivos y entrevistas a combatientes para rescatar la información histórica sobre aquel periodo, pero sobre todo por el valor patrimonial de aquellos restos [ver blog]. Por un claro déficit democrático que aún se vive en nuestro país ninguna administración pública, incluida la Universidad, ha querido musealizar y poner en valor dichos restos, pese a todo el trabajo de documentación arqueológica e histórica realizada. La única memoria histórica que aún sigue vigente en el campus es la de los monumentos fascistas que se construyeron tras la Guerra Civil en honor de los combatientes muertes del bando franquista. El mejor símbolo material de la memoria histórica franquista es el Arco de Triunfo que preside la entrada al campus. Por ello desde AMTTA hemos decidido comenzar nuestros “Combates por la Historia” por la arqueología de la Guerra Civil española, porque creemos que es muy urgente y necesaria una relectura democrática de toda esta materialidad contemporánea, así como una exhumación oficial de las decenas de miles de personas represaliadas que aún permanecen en fosas comunes.

Presentación histórica en el punto 1

Pegando un cartel en el punto 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Más explicaciones en el punto 2

En el punto 4

El punto 7 en Moncloa

EN EL ARCO DE LA VICTORIA

[Puedes seguir la ruta aquí]

Ya por la tarde AMTTA participó en una mesa redonda abierta al público en el Ateneo de Madrid, junto a otras asociaciones en defensa del patrimonio, englobadas todas ellas en “Madrid Ciudadanía y Patrimonio” [ver web]. El tema del debate fue “Patrimonio y Crisis” y allí se abordaron las diferentes preocupaciones de los colectivos por los efectos que puede tener el patrimonio cultural e histórico, ya de por sí severamente castigado por las últimas décadas de especulación urbanística y boom inmobiliario. Una buena parte del debate se centró en las futuras reformas legislativas en la Comunidad de Madrid [ver ley con las alegaciones de AMTTA] cuyo fin es desproteger aún más el patrimonio histórico con el objetivo de facilitar la construcción y la depredación capitalista, hoy en horas bajas como consecuencia de la crisis económica que ellos mismos han generado [ver noticia]. De nuevo, el patrimonio histórico y el medio ambiente vuelven a ser las principales victimas de un modelo económico obsoleto y perjudicial.

During the round table

[Podéis ver más fotos aquí, por cortesía de MCyP]

Al final, un día ajetreado en el que tuvimos la oportunidad de celebrar un día como este y gracias a #DayofArch, la de compartirlo con todos vosotros.

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facebook.com/AMTTA.Arqueologia

@twitter

[Los contactos y el resto de recursos, están ahí]

 

Such a boring life… or not, just normal

When I wrote last year’s post I had the feeling that my life was not as exciting as others. This year I kind of confirm it, but at least, once again, I think I’ve been doing different, normal stuff. So, what was my day today?

I still keep my company open, but one month ago I had to leave the office to adjust expenses. Today is the day I finished moving! I now have internet again and air conditioning (at home, my new office for the moment). For that, I was the whole morning with the technician talking about all the shit in the world… even the world of archaeology.

 

Furniture from former JAS Arqueología’s office stored in my village…

 

I also had to attend a couple of clients from the editorial and run to my parents’ home to prepare lunch and take care of my grandad. Meanwhile, my partners from AMTTA (contribution soon online too) were presenting out latest project; ‘Combates por la Historia’ (Combats for History), to show and socialize hidden and destroyed heritage in Madrid through different routes, the first one, Campus de Batalla (Battle Campus) about the Civil War front in Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid.

Anyway, the afternoon was a bit more archaeological… After lunch I continued editing the next book from my editorial, the second by Riccardo Frigoli. A great essay on archaeology, interpretation and communication. But it was not for long, as I had to attend the second event with AMTTA, the general annual meeting of Madrid Ciudadanía y Patrimonio, an association we joined to continue fighting for heritage. And after that a round table about Heritage and the Crisis.

 

During the round table

 

The round table was quite interesting, as we mostly talked about two important issues:

-The crisis: Not only economic, but moral. How besides the economic difficulties, heritage was always in the middle of a general disinterest that was harmful for heritage.

-The new law projected in Madrid for Historical Heritage: Suddenly, maybe due to the possibility of hosting Eurovegas, the regional government has written a draft for a new law that is negligent and goes against any principle we might share as professionals.
[If fluent in Spanish, see the text and our comments here]

Now I came back home, I had some chinese for dinner and am writing this. The day is over and this time I’m not traveling anywhere soon, so every day this week will be pretty similar, pretty boring.

btw I’m Jaime Almansa-Sánchez

 

The private life of Jaime… a public archaeologist

Some months ago, when #dayofarch came up, I was wondering why this experience was happening a friday in July. Then, I realized that my life is not ‘normal’ and the FBA and summer field seasons where enough to have a good view.

Madrid (Spain) 29th July 2011 – The private life of Jaime…

Today I woke up as usual, around 7:30. Had a quick breakfast, drove my mom to work and went to the gym a bit. With this temperature it is impossible to run outside even in the morning. Shower, second breakfast and time to go to the office.

I am supposed to work in the commercial field. Created my own company last year as a kind of economical suicide, but I’m still alive. Said this, I haven’t been in the field since 2009. I miss it, but getting a contract nowadays is becoming impossible with the climate of crisis and savage competence with prices. It was much more easier when I worked for others. Instead I try to promote and practice Public Archaeology and that is probably the hardest challenge I have taken. A lot of project planning and ‘selling’ in the private sector (that should be managed publicly), and more comforts in Ethiopia than at home.

As a good friday, today I only had 3 hours to do stuff and I am having a lot of stuff to do. I lack time, although I waste a lot…

My list for this week still said ‘ArchPP’ (an article for Archaeologies I have to rewrite in a couple of weeks), ‘Docs Etiopía’ (preparing all documents I have to take to Ethiopia next week), ‘Correo ChC’ (sending emails to the contributors of a book I’m coordinating), ‘Web HCIII’ (continue preparing a web site I’m working with), ‘Enviar libros’ (mailing a couple of parcels with books I sold). 3 out of 5 remain there…

I run to the post office (5 minutes from the office) and spent around 30 minutes reading and answering emails. The pity is that people ask for lots of things, but never offering paid stuff… I should start having fees for ‘consultancy’. The problem of having the Internet is that while/after emailing, Facebook, Twitter and today, this page took a good time from these hours. So, right before lunch time, I decided to collect all the papers for Ethiopia, write a couple of mails more and take some work for the weekend in the village.

I am flying to Ethiopia next week to try end a project I started last year in Melka Kunture (Public Archaeology related about the evaluation and awareness on the site), participate in the EAAPP meeting with it and start new ideas while money comes. I’m in love with the country and highly recommend it (btw).

So, with the briefcase full of stuff, the laptop and a couple of books was time to go shopping for lunch. Today’s menu: Green peas with onion and jamón serrano. Delicious and really easy to cook.

During lunch I watched a couple of chapters of ‘Entourage’. I am a compulsive consumer of series and as the summer season is a bit boring and I’m to date with all I like, I started yesterday to watch this one.

And after lunch and a short nap, I went to pick my mom before going to the village.

My village is El Cabaco, 3 hours from Madrid in Salamanca province. I have a strong relation with it and was also where I started working in Archaeology. There are some Roman gold mines and a site. It was excavated in 2000-2001 and I was lucky to take part of it when I was just 16. I think that was determinant for me to end up working in Public Archaeology.

Anyway, midway we stopped for shopping and dinner. There was a terrible traffic jam to get out of Madrid… and my day ended in one of the bars in my village, having a drink with some friends before going to another village for party (summertime local parties!).

It looks like there has been very few archaeology around, but I it was in my head all the time 😉 Hope this shows that the life of an archaeologist is not always digging up things or doing cool (or boring) stuff. We have normal lives like normal people. We eat, run, drink, chat, have holidays, friends… Archaeology is just our job.

BUT – Having a look at the context…

Today it has been a normal day… a bit weird, but normal. The routine of my life is pretty stable. Maybe doing it next friday would have been better… I will be in a foreign country, kind of exotic, having meetings, visiting sites, doing surveys or who knows what (I still didn’t close the schedule). Or maybe last thursday, when I stayed till 4 am preparing the layout of a book I’m publishing in a couple of months and emailing contributors, while managing a wave of proposals for the journal I edit, ‘AP: Online Journal in Public Archaeology’ (www.arqueologiapublica.es). Or I could have talked about the worries of a PhD student that has to work and manage his company while trying to keep his ‘academic-research-life’ with no resources or time. There are even days when I don’t do any archaeology at all!

For Spanish \’understanders\’ this is what I do in the company… + PhD = My life