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Calpe 2019 Conference: Archaeological and Heritage Research in Gibraltar: The past thirty years

Eyleen Gomez

This year is a milestone year for the Gibraltar National Museum and its team of researchers as it has been 30 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.

This work has gone beyond the research on Neanderthals at Gorham’s 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.

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.

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, Dr John Cortes, himself a researcher, reflected on the disproportionate contribution made by Gibraltarians, 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.

The Calpe Conference will be held at the University of Gibraltar between September 19 to 21.

Persons wishing to register for this exciting milestone conference can do so by writing to or by calling the museum on 200 74289. Registration is free for local residents of Gibraltar.

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