Ibeas de Juarros (Burgos) (EFE).- The Queen Emeritus, Doña Sofía, chaired a key meeting this Monday for the future of the Atapuerca Foundation, in which the commitment to inaugurate the expansion of its headquarters in the summer of 2024 and to study the conditions for a new phase of the foundation, including the change of directors.
Regarding the expansion, the president of the foundation, Antonio Miguel Méndez Pozo, said that they still do not know the budget, but he announced that the expansion would be inaugurated as one of the central acts of the 25th anniversary of the foundation. birth and It will be named Emiliano Aguirre Research Center, in honor of the considered father of the Atapuerca deposits.
Among these contents, the funds left by the Fundación Emiliano Aguirre and by the co-directors of Atapuerca, Eudald Carbonell, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Juan Luis Arsuaga, so that you can take a panoramic view of the day of the excavations of this beginning.
The vice-president of the foundation and co-director of Atapuerca Eudald Carbonell explained that the changes that this entity will have to face in the future are also being studied, which will start from the principles of “responsible evolution and progress aware”, for which a space will be created for national and international projects with a person who will be in charge of their coordination.
The Minister of Culture of the Junta de Castilla y León, Gonzalo Santonja, has assured that the regional government will support the construction and equipment of the new center and will continue to support everything related to the sites, whose internationalization has been set in evidence.
In this sense, he clarified that visits to the Atapuerca system have returned to pre-pandemic levels, with almost 123,000 visits until last November 1, throughout this year.
He pointed out that 80% were Spaniards from other autonomous communities, among which those from Madrid, the Basque Country, Catalonia and Andalusia stand out; and 12% were foreigners, mainly from the United States, France, Germany and Italy.
He also drew attention to the presence on the sites of journalists from Qatar and Korea, which will facilitate the knowledge of Atapuerca in their countries, which he hopes will result in an increase in the number of visitors. in these regions.
At the board meeting, the foundation’s budget for 2023 was also approved, which will amount to 1.45 million euros, of which approximately 84% will be used for fundamental purposes.
Queen Sofia, face to face with ‘Pink’
The Queen Emeritus, Doña Sofía, had the opportunity this Monday to come face to face with ‘Pink’, the name given to the fragment of the face of the first European whose remains have been found, a hominid that must have lived in the Sierra de Atapuerca about 1.4 million years ago.
Its discovery this summer in the Sima del Elefante, one of the most emblematic sites of the Atapuerca complex, was a milestone, as it is the oldest hominid remains found in Europe.
It was the surprise that the board of directors of the foundation wanted to give to the queen emeritus, from the hand of the three co-directors of Atapuerca, Eudald Carbonell, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Juan Luis Arsuaga, accompanied, on this occasion by Rosa Huguet, the coordinator of the site where this fossil was found.
The connection between Doña Sofía and Atapuerca is not something new and, in fact, today was the sixth time that she visited the sites or activities in her environment related to human evolution. .
On July 7, 2009, he inaugurated the headquarters of the foundation and visited the deposits; in September 2014, he attended several sessions of the international colloquium on prehistory held in Burgos; In May 2015, he chaired the board of directors of the Atapuerca Foundation and visited the Center for Experimental Archeology (CAREX).
He returned to chairing a board of directors in June 2016, when he also approached the sites and laboratories of the agricultural school of Arlanzón; and in June 2017, he returned to chair the board and toured the sites.
In addition, in October 2019, he received the members of the Board of Directors of the Atapuerca Foundation at the Palacio de la Zarzuela.
For the record, bad weather conditions have forced the start of the board meeting to be delayed today, pending the arrival of Doña Sofía.
Although he was supposed to travel to Burgos by helicopter, fog and rain prevented him from doing so, nor was he able to travel by plane as landing was not possible at the airport. de Villafría, so finally he had to arrive by car to the headquarters of the foundation in Ibeas de Juarros, where only a group of curious people were waiting for him, in addition to the members of the board of directors.
In addition to them, the event was attended as guests by the President of the Spanish Chambers of Commerce, Juan Bonet; the Archbishop of Burgos, Mario Iceta, as resident of the Foundation for the VIII Centenary of the Cathedral; the general-in-chief of the San Marcial division; the Lieutenant Colonel of the Civil Guard of Burgos, Alfonso Martín; and the General Manager of the Atapuerca System, Aurora Martín. ECE
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