The Archaeologies of the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist Regime

Organisers Alberto P. Martí (University of Leicester) and Mayca Rojo (Universitat de Barcelona)

The Spanish Civil War has traditionally been a source of interest and inspiration for historians, sociologists, politicians, novelists and even film-makers. Nevertheless, it has not been until the last decade that archaeologists have got fully involved in the study of the material dimension of this conflict and its aftermath: General Franco’s national-Catholic dictatorship. Different branches seem to be joining in order to conform what is usually referred as the ‘archaeology of the Spanish Civil War’. On the one hand, evolved from a tradition of military history and architecture, there is a growing interest in approaching ‘archaeologically’ the physical remains of the armed confrontation (battlefields, trench systems, urban air-raid shelters, etc). On the other hand, archaeologists have become an essential part of the civic movement campaigning for the so-called ‘recovery of the historical memory’. This is a complex social phenomenon based on the widespread political repression that took place in Spain during and after the war, and whose most famous expression is the exhumation of mass graves all around the country. The construction of an ‘archaeology of the Spanish Civil War’ as a combination of so different approaches (heritage preservation and education, human rights investigations, left-wing political activism, etc.) does still require the development of a coherent theoretical corpus. It is the intention of this session to offer a global perspective of this multiplicity of viewpoints and motivations, while encouraging a deep international debate around the role and public responsibilities of archaeologists working on this field.

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