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Calpe Conference 2019

held in Gibraltar

Thursday 19 Sep 2019 - Saturday 21 Sep 2019

Gibraltar from Gibraltar Devils Gap Battery 1902 Manning the Guns Gorhams Cave Neanderthal Hash Tag Homage Tower

Archaeological and Heritage Research in Gibraltar: the past thirty years

The Calpe Conference is an international academic conference organised by the Gibraltar Museum on behalf of HM Government of Gibraltar, and held annualy on the Rock. The name of the conference refers to the name given to the Rock of Gibraltar in antiquity, Mons Calpe, which was regarded as one of the Pillars of Hercules in classical times.
Previous conference topics have included, human evolution, heritage, natural history and conservation.

30th Anniversary of Excavations at Gorham's Cave

2019 is a milestone year for the Gibraltar National Museum and its team of researchers: it is thirty years since the start of the current excavations at Gorham’s Cave. To mark the occasion the 2019 Calpe Conference will aim to review all the archaeological work which the Gibraltar National Museum has carried out since 1989.

Urban Excavations

This work has gone beyond the research on Neanderthals at Gorhams Cave. It has included the first urban excavations ever carried out in Gibraltar and significant examples of restoration of medieval and post-medieval monuments, such as the Moorish Baths, Tower of Homage and St. Jago’s Arch. The key participants in this long journey will gather in Gibraltar to tell this story, which in effect will be a synthesis of the history of Gibraltar.

Recent History of Gibraltar

Other researchers have worked on historical subjects in parallel, particularly on the recent history of Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians and they have been invited to form part of the conference, which will bring the Gibraltar story practically to the present day. The period has also seen the development of heritage legislation, culminating with the Heritage Act of 2018, and heritage management procedures. It also saw the inscription of Gibraltar’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Geographical Context

In addition, the conference aims to situate this history in the geographical context of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa and international speakers have been invited to add to the comprehensive Gibraltarian contribution. This Gibraltarian contribution is reflected in thirteen of the twenty papers that will be presented, the highest proportion for any Calpe Conference. Commenting on the programme Minister for Heritage, the Hon Professor John Cortes, himself a researcher, reflected on the disproportionate contribution made by Gibraltarians, which he said “was a reflection of the quality of the academic skills and abilities of Gibraltarians”. The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia will deliver an address on the Gibraltarian identity and close the conference.


Thursday 19th September

09:15 Official Opening by Minister Professor John Cortes

09:30 Clive Finlayson, The Gibraltar National Museum and University of Gibraltar

The last thirty years: an overview

10:30 Coffee

11:00 Alex Menez, The Gibraltar National Museum and University of Gibraltar

Petrified bones and the Devil’s Tower: on the origin of geology, palaeontology, and archaeology in Gibraltar.

12:00 Joaquin Rodriquez Vidal, Universidad de Huelva, Spain

El patrimonio geologico del Cuaternario de Gibraltar

13:00 Lunch

14:30 Geraldine Finlayson, The Gibraltar National Museum and University of Gibraltar

An overview of Neanderthal research in Gibraltar in the last 30 years

15:30 Stewart Finlayson, The Gibraltar National Museum and Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom

A review of Late Pleistocene ecology and cave research in the last 30 years

16:30 Tea

17:00 Robert Sala-Ramos, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

Evolution of the hominin settlement in the Ain Beni Mathar - Guefait basin, Eastern Morocco.

18:00 Sergio Ripoll Loopez, Universidad Nacional de Educacioon a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, Spain.

El arte rupestre del fin del mundo...

Friday 20th September

09:30 Francisco Giles Guzman, The Gibraltar National Museum and Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom

The recent prehistory of Gibraltar: archaeological and palaeo-genetic context

10:30 Coffee

11:00 Arturo Morales-Muniz and Eufrasia Rosello-Izquierdo, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain.

20,000 years of fishing in the Strait: an overview of aquatic resource exploitation along the Gibraltar and northern Alboran Sea shores

12:00 Antonio M. Saaez Romero, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain

Una caverna sagrada en los confines del mundo mediterraneo antiguo. Balance y resultados de tres decadas de investigaciones en el santuario fenicio de Gorham's Cave

13:00 Lunch

14:30 Juan Blanquez and Lourdes Roldan, Universidad Autoonoma de Madrid, Spain.

Renovadas propuestas paleo topograficas, arqueologicas y cronologicas del Campo de Gibraltar: el paisaje cultural de Carteia

15:30 Jose Mariia Gutierrez Lopez, Museo Municipal de Villamartin, Cadiz, Spain

Marinid Gibraltar. Synthesis and perspectives after 30 years of archaeological research.

16:30 Tea

17:00 Manuel Jaen Candon, The Gibraltar National Museum

Restoring Gibraltar’s medieval and post-medieval monuments

Saturday 21st September

09:00 David Abulafia, The University of Cambridge, UK and the University of Gibraltar.

Passages Through the Straits: Material and Documentary Evidence

10:00 Coffee

10:30 Darren Fa, The University of Gibraltar

The creation of the ‘Key to the Mediterranean’: the post-1704 fortification of Gibraltar.

11:30 Matthias Strohn, Buckingham University, United Kingdom

From the Great Siege to Operation Felix The role of the German military in the history of Gibraltar

12:30 Dominic Lopez, Government Archaeologist, HM Government of Gibraltar.

Thirty years of Cultural Heritage asset management

13:30 Lunch

15:00 Larry Sawchuk, University of Toronto, Canada

Gibraltar – My Research Paradox: Past and Present Intertwined

16:00 Tea

16:30 Tom Finlayson, former Government Archivist, HM Government of Gibraltar

Looking back over forty years of research into British Gibraltar

17:30 Joseph Garcia, Deputy Chief Minister, HM Government of Gibraltar


The origins and development of the Gibraltarian identity

To book tickets and more information

Find on the map

How to get there

The conference takes place at the University of Gibraltar at Europa Point

To book tickets email

About the Author

Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.

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