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The cultural park | Research work in Las Médulas
 
Formation course in Las Médulas
 

Until very recently it was necessary to turn to the myths and legends to justify the existence of Las Médulas: histories of the numerous Roman slaves or the gold that the Roman Empire plundered in Hispania are just two examples of mask that conceal a much richer and more complex historical reality.

Mining has traditionally occupied a marginal space in studies on Roman Antiquity. It was not until recent times that it has found an important place in historical research. In the case of Las Médulas – as generally throughout the peninsular north-west – research into gold mining took on relevance with the work by the French researcher Claude Domergue. The work carried out by this researcher had already been developed from an interdisciplinary point of view with special attention to collaboration between archaeologists and geologists.

Las Médulas are an excellent example of the interweaving of technological and economic aspects, social relationships, political and administrative questions and the mechanisms that permitted connection between these diverse levels. This is the direction developed by the work of the research team Estructura Social y Territorio – Arqueología del Paisaje(Social Structure and Territory – Landscape Archaeology) directed since 1988 by F.- Javier Sánchez-Palencia, from the Ancient History and Archaeology Department of the Institute of History of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) (Higher Council for Scientific Research) (http://humanidades.cchs.csic.es/ih/paginas/territorio/objetivos.htm).

Research into Las Médulas makes sense if it contributes to its appreciation and development not just on scientific level but also social. That is why the work carried out by this research team is based on a scientific and a heritage perspective at the same time, valuing Las Médulas as a cultural landscape, i.e. the result of a historical process. This is especially important in an area in which the archaeological heritage is one of the most important resources. The CSIC team's work tries to take this heritage into account in any decision relating to the area's management; that is why its efforts are aimed at rendering the social, economic and cultural initiatives evermore effective in developing the area at the same time as protecting this cultural landscape.

 

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