It is near Burgos, in the north of Spain that we found the trace of Prince Albert II of Monaco. The Monegasque sovereign does not cease traveling and made a visit on the sites of the prehistoric excavations of the sierra of Atapuerca this Tuesday, July 26. Prince Albert also admired the exceptional fossils exposed in the museum of these sites.
Prince Albert II fulfills his wish to visit the prehistoric excavations of Atapuerca
In addition to sharing the name and passion for oceanography of his grandfather Albert I, Prince Albert II has the same interest in archaeology. Albert I was one of the first patrons to finance research on the cave paintings in Cantabria. He visited them in 1904 and Prince Albert II also visited them in 2010.
In 2022, Prince Albert II fulfills another wish, that of visiting Burgos and the prehistoric site of the Sierra de Atapuerca. It is difficult to follow the Monegasque monarch, who a few hours before was in Oregon, and a few days before that in the Vatican with his wife. During this visit to Atapuerca on Tuesday, July 26, Prince Albert was accompanied by the Monegasque ambassador to Spain, Catherine Fautrier-Rousseau. Albert II appeared in an explorer’s outfit and wore a hard hat on the sites where excavations are carried out.
As Hola points out, Prince Albert’s visit coincided with one of the most remarkable discoveries in Atapuerca. A bone from the jaw of what could be the first European hominid, about one million four hundred thousand years old, was found during the excavations this summer. Prince Albert began his visit at the site of El Portalón de Cueva Mayor, then went to the site of Sima del Elefante and Cueva Fantasma, before joining the Museum of Human Evolution (MEH) and the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH).
Prince Albert II visits the incredible prehistoric museum of Burgos
The prince began his visit in the museum of the site, in the first room dedicated to the species Homo antecessor. The skeleton of this man was reconstructed using bones that are nearly a million years old and were found at the site of Gran Dolina in Atapuerca. The museum explains that Prince Albert then visited the space where the Skull No. 5 and the Pelvis Elvis are displayed. These two star fossils interested the prince. Albert also stopped in front of the Excalibur biface. This biface is one of the objects carved in stone that has not yet revealed all its mysteries. Finally, the visit ended with a passage in the temporary exhibition that traces the evolution of human posture.
“On his departure, Prince Albert II of Monaco emphasized the majesty of the building that houses the Museum, the work of architect Juan Navarro Baldeweg, and its privileged position as a viewpoint over the historic part of the city of Burgos and its cathedral,” emphasizes the museum, proud of this visit, especially since the prince had a real desire to finally be able to carry out this visit. “For years, the Monegasque sovereign had a special interest in making a scientific and cultural visit to the sites of Atapuerca, the Museum of Human Evolution and the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (Cenieh).
The Atapuerca mountain range has been excavated for more than forty years, with great discoveries, including new hominid species. In turn, the Museum of Human Evolution is one of the few museums in the world in this field and presents an exceptional collection of original fossils in its permanent exhibition.
The Principality of Monaco’s relationship with Atapuerca is linked to Henry de Lumley, current president of the Institut de Paléontologie humaine de Paris, an institute dependent on the Principality. Lumley has been the promoter of many prehistoric museums in Europe and has close relations with the Principality and with Atapuerca. The Prince Albert II Foundation has been present in Spain since 2016.
Photos credits: Bestimage