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Monday, February 25, 2013

40,000 Years of Life & Death: Excavations in Spain's El Miron Cave

The Oregon Archaeological Society is pleased to sponsor the March 5, 2013 lecture titled: "40,000 Years of Life and Death in a Spanish Cave: Excavations in El Miron, Cantabria."  

The featured speaker is the distinguished Dr. Lawrence Guy Straus, the Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico College of Arts and Sciences.

El Miron Cave, located in the Cantabrian Cordillera in Spain has been excavated by Professor Straus and a Spanish colleague since 1996.  Scientifically discovered in 1903, but ignored by archaeologists despite being surrounded by cave art sites, El Miron is a large cave with a strategic location.  First visited by Straus in 1973, it has yielded results beyond his wildest expectations.  

The cultural sequence begins in the late Middle Paleolithic and continues through evidence of Medieval visits, with radiocarbon dates ranging from 41,000 BP to AD 1400. As the surrounding environment changed, the evidence of human use of the cave also changed.

 The site has been the subject of numerous multidisciplinary studies of the climate, landscapes, human technology, subsistence, and artistic activity that have resulted in dozens of publications in Europe and the U.S.  Major discoveries have included dated portable art objects, rock engravings, an associated human burial, evidence of human occupation and livestock stabling, and ceramic and metal technology.

Straus has conducted excavations in Spain, France, Portugal, and Belgium, principally at Upper Paleolithic (but also Middle Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic) sites.  He is particularly interested in human adaptations to the diverse and changing environments of the Last Glacial in Western Europe.  

He has authored numerous publications and has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Anthropological Research since 1995. He has been given lifetime achievement awards by the Stone Age Institute at Indiana University and the Sociedad Prehistorica de Cantabria, and has held offices in the international unions for Quaternary Research (INQUA) and Pre- and Proto-historic Sciences (UISPP).

The presentation is at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is free and open to the public. A general business meeting begins at 7 PM, followed by the lecture.

See or call 503-727-3507 for more information.