The Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES)

The Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) is an advanced research centre comprising a wide range of disciplines. Its aims are to conduct scientific research programmes based on earth and life sciences, to foster the socialization of their projects in the community and to project their results towards prospective social research with an evolutionist bent.

The pillars of its activities are research, teaching and the socialization of knowledge, meaning the process by which an individual takes elements of the culture of their social environment and learns, interiorizes and makes them their own.

The international impact of IPHES scientific production

IPHES has teaching and research staff of international standing based on the quality, number and impact of their publications. This staff comes from Rovira i Virgili University and other centres, and forms part of the research team at Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain) and the Guadix-Baza project (Granada, Spain). The international publications by this research team have achieved a greater impact than those of any other team in Spain in recent years. The head of the team, Eudald Carbonell, is the author of the most-quoted paper in the field of the social sciences in the last ten years.

IPHES plays a role in international projects in Chile, Mexico, Morocco, Algeria and many other countries. A major part of the institute's activities consists of archaeo-paleontological excavations and prospecting work linked to its staff's research projects. In Spain these include, among others:

  • Abric Romaní (Capellades, Anoia)
  • Camp dels Ninots (Caldes de Malavella, La Selva)
  • Guadix - Baza (Granada)
  • The First Settlers in Extremadura
  • El Cavet (Cambrils, Tarragona)
  • Archaeological work in the Miño basin
  • Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos)
  • Tossal de la Font Vilafamés (Castelló)

The Atapuerca project, co-directed by the head of IPHES, who has been working there for more than thirty years, stands out in terms of its scope and the impact of its results.

Quality teaching

Postgraduate courses are taught at the URV on the basis of IPHES research. The university master's programme in quaternary archaeology and social evolution (Erasmus Mundus) is run in partnership with other European institutions. The doctorate in quaternary and prehistory has earned a quality award from the Spanish Ministry of Education. Both the master's and doctoral programmes offer high-quality training in both academic and research spheres. Students from around the world from fields including anthropology, archaeology, biology, physics, geology, history and chemistry all take part in the postgraduate programmes in quaternary and prehistory.

Socializing knowledge

IPHES builds platforms to foster the socialization of knowledge, in particular that of human evolution. Efforts have been redoubled in this area to establish the necessary strategies to ensure that the results and methodologies used by science are taken on board by the public.

The museography unit and the portals www.evoluciona.org and www.rupestre.org are some examples of activities aimed at socializing knowledge.