Spain’s newest museum, The Museum of Human Evolution is due to open in the northern city of Burgos on July 13, 2010. The location of this museum is important as it is located just 10 miles/15,km from the world famous archaeological site of Atapuerca. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Atapuerca’s excavations have revealed remains of one of the most significant settlements of the first Europeans. The human fossils recovered from Atapuerca so far constitute 85% of all the world’s fossils from the period known as the Middle Pleistocene.( 781—126 thousand years ago)
Undoubtedly the Museum will be a global reference point for prehistory, both on a scientific level and in terms of education and dissemination. Atapuerca Palaeontologist Juan Luis Arsuaga stated to El Pais Seminal “This is a unique museum in the world. There is nothing like it. During its conception, our team had decided that we did not want a museum of prehistory, of fossils and bones. We wanted a museum of the living, not of the dead. For this reason the building is very bright, the architecture is very open, like a huge glass box..” The museum will also have exhibits which will interpret what the findings at Atapuerca can help us understand about ourselves. It will also be a center for research.
Another important factor in differentiating this museum from others is that the museum will show authentic fossils, contrary to many museums which exhibit copies while the original pieces are kept in safes. Among several, one of the treasures of the museum is Skull 5 known as ‘Miguelon’. It is one of the most complete human fossil skulls in the world, found in 1992 at Atapuerca and dated at 400,000 years old.
Burgos is a plesasant city to visit, along with its charming old quarter with its many churches and convents, it is home to an extraordinary Cathedral, considered one of the finest examples of Spanish Gothic art. A visit to Burgos would fit nicely into a route including Madrid, the Rioja wine region and the northern cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian or even west to Galicia. For those interested in pre-history, we also recommend visiting the Altamira cave museum (near Santillana del Mar and Santander).
Museo de la Evolución Humana – http://www.museoevolucionhumana.com
Palaeontologist Juan Luis Arsuaga’s website: http://www.atapuerca.tv/
Atapuerca Foundation: http://www.atapuerca.org/