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24 May 2010
New science project on the historical heritage of the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees Work Community (CEPAP, headquartered in Jaca, Huesca, Spain) aims to strengthen the economic and social integration of the cross-border area between Spain, Andorra and France at a total cost of €2,606,897. Six member Spanish and French institutions have donated 35% of this fund and are working jointly to put into action 'The Origins Route', a scientific dissemination project to develop a quality sustainable model for tourism in the Pyrenees. The remaining 65% of project funding was provided by the European Regional Development Fund.
     The initiative comprises a set of activities to inform society about the origins of the Pyrenees, promoting an innovative and experimental model of tourism, respectful of the environment and at the same time valuing the natural, historical and scientific heritage of the Pyrenees. 'The Origins Route' project member institutions propose to create the basic elements needed for pathways through the Pyrenees Mountains which offer visitors different itineraries to help them discover and understand many of the questions formulated today by scientists concerning the first inhabitants of the region. Each stage of the itinerary will focus on a specific period - the full route will offer a global vision of the origins of the Pyrenees region. Proposed activities will allow participants to experience different situations such as palaentological or archaeological digs, skywatching or studying the mountain's biodiversity. The project will also include a traveling exhibition which will last approximately ten years.
     The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona will be in charge of the museumification of the prehistoric archaeological site Roca dels Bous, located near the town of Sant Llorenç de Montgai (La Noguera), where CEPAP researchers have been studying the origins and evolution of Neanderthals in the eastern Pyrenees. Known as ArkeoTic, this project will be the first to use innovative museographies based on information and communication technologies to display the project's archaeological findings.
     The dig site and its surroundings will be prepared for visiting school groups and the public in general and will include wireless connections to complement on-site visits and interactive itineraries. The facilities are planned for completion by the end of this summer. According to Rafael Mora, director of this Archaeological Center, "We intend to show the construction of science and at the same time bring it closer to the public. By being able to see how researchers work and establishing direct contact with them we aim to foster young people's interest in science."

Source:EurekAlert! (10 May 2010)

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