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Hendedor Pulse para ampliar

Characterisation of the Acheulean in the Manzanares Valley from the lithic collections of the National Archaeological Museum

Estimated timeframe: Fase 1: 2014-2020. Fase 2: 2021-2025

Lead researchers: Juan Antonio Martos Romero (MAN), Susana Rubio Jara (CENIEH) y Joaquín Panera Gallego (CENIEH)

The intention is to increase knowledge about the technical and economic characteristics of the Acheulean in the environment of the Manzanares Valley, Madrid. Recent studies of the geomorphological framework of the region enable the lithic collections from the Pleistocene terraces of the Manzanares kept in the National Archaeological Museum to be reviewed with new approaches. In the first phase, it is proposed to determine whether there are Acheulean remains or not in the Santa Olalla collection from the 50s and 60s which could be attributed to what is called the Complex Terrace of Butarque. The second phase is focused on the sites of the Pérez de Barradas collection from the 20s located on the 25-30 m and +18/20 m stepped terraces of the Manzanares Valley. In both stages, the methodology will consist of techno-economic study of the lithic series. It is hoped to obtain a more accurate definition of the Acheulean in the region, while enhancing the collections of the National Archaeological Museum from a scientific and educational point of view at the same time.

Fase 1 2014-2020: Identificación de los yacimientos situados en la terraza de +25-30 m del Manzanares. Se han estudiado, documentado y catalogado 1574 piezas procedentes de 8 yacimientos. Colección Pérez de Barradas: Arenero Plaza del Bonifá, Casa del Moreno, Estación Villaverde Bajo, La Perla, Tejar del Sastre y Vaquerías del Torero. Colección Rotondo: San Isidro. Colección Santa Olalla: Transfesa.

Fase 2 2021-2025: Identificación y estudio de yacimientos situados en la terraza compleja de +18/20 m del Manzanares.


  • Idoia Claver, José Yravedra, Juan Antonio Martos, Susana Fraile , Joaquín Panera, Susana Rubio-Jara, Taphonomic approach to the faunal assemblages of the Middle Pleistocene sites of Oxígeno and Santa Elena (Manzanares Valley, Spain). European Society for the Study of Human Evolution-ESHE, Meeting 2021. Poster presentation Number 32, Session 2. Descargar Abstract PDF Descargar poster PDF
  • Claver, I., Martos, J.A., Yravedra, J. et al. The interaction between large mammals and Acheulean tools during the Middle Pleistocene in the Manzanares valley (Madrid, Spain): new evidence for Santa Elena and Oxígeno sites. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 15, 5 (2023). Descargar publicación Nueva ventana

Cestos colección Góngora Pulse para ampliar

Founding collections: Manuel de Góngora on the bicentenary of his birth

Estimated timeframe: 2020–2022

Lead researcher: Ruth Maicas

The year 2022 will mark the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Manuel de Góngora y Martínez, one of the fathers of Spanish archaeology and the man responsible for one of our oldest collections. To celebrate this bicentenary, we have decided to re-examine the contents of that collection and, in particular, the highly representative archaeological site of the Cave of Los Murciélagos in Albuñol, Granada, from which the museum has an exceptional set of plant-based materials whose condition is still surprising, even today. This astonishing modernity elicited sharp criticism from Góngora’s contemporaries. The controversy was put to rest by analyses of the materials in the final decades of the 20th century, but we still have much to learn from this exceptional collection.


  • Alfaro Giner, C. (1980), "Estudio de los materiales de cestería procedentes de la Cueva de los Murciélagos (Albuñol, Granada)", Trabajos de Prehistoria, 37: 109-162.
  • Alfaro Giner, C. (1984). Tejido y cestería en la Península Ibérica. Biblíotheca Praehistorica Híspana, vol. XXI.
  • Cacho, C.; Papí, C.; Barriga, A. y Alonso, F. (1996), "La cestería decorada de la cueva de Los Murciélagos (Albuñol, Granada)”. Complutum Extra, 6 (I): 105-122.
  • Carrasco Rus, J. y Pachón Romero, J. A. (2009): “Algunas cuestiones sobre el registro arqueológico de la cueva de Los Murciélagos de Albuñol (Granada) en el contexto neolítico andaluz y sus posibles relaciones con las representaciones esquemáticas”. CPAG 19, 2009, 227-287. ISSN: 0211-3228.

Colección Góngora Pulse para ampliar

Completed programs

Investigación en almacenes Pulse para ampliar

Bibliometric analysis of the impact of the National Archaeological Museum's prehistoric collections on research in this field between 1990 and 2007

Estimated timeframe: 2013–2020

Examination of research studies done on the prehistoric holdings of the National Archaeological Museum to determine the role they have played in the discipline’s state of knowledge over the last twenty years. This analysis adopts a bibliometric approach, using different indicators (of activity and of impact), to obtain quantifiable data on said activity. The ultimate goal is to highlight the role that the National Archaeological Museum and its collections have played in national and international prehistoric research.


  • Martos, J.A., Galán, E., Maicas, R.: "Aproximación a la investigación externa de fondos adscritos al Departamento de Prehistoria del Museo Arqueológico Nacional en los inicios del siglo XXI (2005-2019)". Bol. MAN, 40 2021: 427-440. Descargar pdf PDF
Tesoro de Sagrajas Pulse para ampliar

Catalogue of prehistoric gold pieces at the National Archaeological Museum: Archaeological and archaeometallurgical study

Estimated timeframe: 2018–2021

Lead researchers: Eduardo Galán (MAN), Óscar García-Vuelta and Ignacio Montero-Ruíz (IH-CSIC)

The collection of gold pieces from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age held at the National Archaeological Museum is undoubtedly one of the most important examples of the skill of prehistoric goldsmiths in Spain and the world, in terms of its size, variety and the characteristic nature of its materials.

Although all the pieces have been published to some extent, archival documentation and test results allow us to conduct a monographic study that will reveal important new information about a collection which, though seemingly well known, has never been comprehensively studied, as most previous studies have been limited to individual pieces or groups or presented in extensive general catalogues of gold artefacts on the Iberian Peninsula.

This new catalogue will offer an updated vision of what is undoubtedly one of the National Archaeological Museum’s greatest assets.

Links to publications related to the project:

Eduardo Galán. “Trabajos de oro perdidos. Noticia de dos antiguos hallazgos áureos y su relación con el Museo Arqueológico Nacional”. Bol. MAN, 36 2017: 55-68

Eduardo Galán. “Cuestión de procedencia. Breve historia de un conjunto áureo procedente de Extremadura”. Bol. MAN, 34 2016: 47-62

Peine. Los Millares Pulse para ampliar

The necropolis of Los Millares: A bone industry for a sleeping world

Estimated timeframe: 2020–2021

Lead researcher: Ruth Maicas

One of the most emblematic collections at the National Archaeological Museum was assembled between the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Luis Siret. And the artefacts from the site of Los Millares are among the highlights of that collection. Most of our pieces came from the site’s necropolis, which yielded grave goods that shed considerable light on the material culture of Chalcolithic Iberia. Those grave goods included objects made from organic animal matter, what we know as bone industry. Based on the documents in our archive and the insights offered by recent discoveries, we will review this collection of more than three thousand pieces, made of different materials and including a wide variety of symbolic and ornamental objects.


  • Maicas Ramos, R. (2019): "The bone industry of Los Millares. From Luis Siret to Present". CPAG 29, 203-218. ISSN: 2174-8063
Los Millares Pulse para ampliar
Arqueólogas Pulse para ampliar

INTERACTIVE Women Archaeologists: Drawing the Past

Estimated timeframe: 2019–2020

Lead researcher: Ruth Maicas

To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we published a small brochure with the aim of introducing children to our work, titled “Arqueolog@s. Dibujando el Pasado”. Knowing that all of us, especially children, now live in a digital world, we are developing an interactive based on that printed brochure, with digital resources that will offer a broader, more dynamic understanding of the role that we women have played and will continue to play in archaeology.

Arqueólogas Pulse para ampliar
Ídolos del Museo Arqueológico Nacional Pulse para ampliar

All Equal, All Different: Catalogue of idols from early farming societies at the National Archaeological Museum

Estimated timeframe: 2019–2020

Lead researcher: Ruth Maicas Ramos

Focusing on specific aspects gleaned from the direct examination of pieces known as “idols”, and bearing in mind the connections established between them, this study aims to interpret and offer detailed information on the substantial collection held at the MAN. The first step will be to revise the concept and characterisation of these objects, of which the MAN owns more than 400.

The majority of the prehistoric idols at the MAN pertain to the collection assembled by the Siret brothers in the late 19th and early 20th century in the south-east Iberian Peninsula. However, the museum also owns other pieces of great interest for the purpose of this study, such as the plaque idols from Granja Céspedes and Barbacena, phalange idols from Cerro de las Canteras, eye idols from the Cave of Juan Barbero, etc.

Yacimiento de El Garcel Pulse para ampliar

Storage structures in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula in recent prehistory

Timeframe: 2013-2018

Project leaders: Mª Paz Román (Universidad de Almería), Ruth Maicas Ramos (MAN), Asunción Millán y Pedro Beneitez (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Study of sites with negative structures from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. In the first phase, the small sites in the Vera basin were studied. In the second stage of the project, we concentrated on the El Garcel site in Antas, Almería, using materials conserved in the MAN’s Department of Prehistory and documents from the Siret Collection.Salto de línea Although it is one of the sites most quoted in publications about the recent prehistory of the south-east peninsula, no in-depth study of it has yet been made. The general characteristics of the materials concerned, the distribution and relationship with the container where they were found, and capacity and proposed functionality of the 252 structures analysed will be published. It is also hoped to provide a new sequence for this site.


Román Díaz, Mª P. y Maicas Ramos, R. (2018): “La cosecha de El Garcel (Antas, Almería): estructuras de almacenamiento en el sureste de la península ibérica”. Trabajos de Prehistoria, Vol 75, No 1: 67-84. Enlace a la publicación Nueva ventana

Maicas Ramos, R. y Román Díaz, Mª P. (2018): “Arqueología de puertas adentro: La cerámica de El Garcel (Antas, Almería)”. Anejos a Cuadernos de Prehistoria y Arqueología, 3: 127-140. Enlace a la publicación Nueva ventana


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