It cannot be denied that the Palarq Foundation and its president, the Catalan businessman and patron Antonio Gallardo, are good friends of archaeologists. In its four years of existence, since 2016, the private non-profit organization has supported 200 Spanish archaeological missions abroad, subsidizing them with up to 20,000 euros maximum per campaign.
Not counting the National Prize for Archeology and Paleontology Fundación Palarq, established in 2018, biennial in nature and endowed with 80,000 euros, which supports a specific project of special excellence (so far it has been won by Construjando Tartesos,the architectural study of Tartessian architecture at the Casas del Turuñuelo site, Badajoz).
In fact, according to sources from the foundation, the help from Palarq, its vital injection, “slightly exceeds” that of the Ministry of Culture and Sports itself for archaeological research projects abroad, which was 425,872 euros in 2020.
For 2021, the foundation, whose director is Carolina Bähr, has approved aid for 59 projects, incorporating 15 new ones that are being subsidized for the first time.
Among the 2021 missions supported by the entity are those of the Atapuerca Foundation in the South Caucasus, India and Azerbaijan; those of the Autonomous Government of Barcelona in Olduvai (Tanzania), Erbil (Iraq), Valle de Catamarca (Argentina), or the island of Diego Portales (Ultima Esperanza, Chile), those of the University of Barcelona in Kurdistan, Teotihuacán, Termez ( Transoxiana, Uzbekistan), Sela (Jordan); those of Pompeu Fabra in Tire, Pakistan, Botswana, Sudan and the Mariana Islands; that of the Universidad de la Laguna in Mongolia, that of the CSIC in the Atacama desert, those of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) in Eritrea, Chile and Morocco
Practically all the Spanish missions in Egypt are supported by the Palarq: Heracleópolis Magna, Luxor (Djehuty project, TT209 and Deir el-Bahari and Asasif), Oxirrinco, Qubbet el-Hawa, Kom El-Khamasin …
Just reviewing the list is already a passionate journey through what our archaeologists will be doing next year (and many have been doing it for a long time) in some of the most exciting, promising and out of hand places in the world.
Whether studying nomadic pastoralism in Mongolia, the human interrelation in prehistory at the fifth cataract of the Nile in Sudan, the canoeists of Chilean Patagonia, the agropastoral communities in the Zagros mountains; conducting paleoanthropology in Equatorial Guinea or geoarchaeology in Mexican mortuary caves; scrutinizing the Neolithic in the Negev and the Acheulean in Senrayanapalayam…
It is not surprising that Gallardo, a man susceptible to archaeological and traveling passion, scratches his pocket with all that. Among the people helped by the foundation are many of our most prestigious archaeologists:
Maria Eugenia Aubet, Miquel Molist, Mari Carmen Pérez-Díe, José Manuel Galán, Juan Luis Montero, Josep Cervelló, Rocío Da Riva, Maite Mascort, or Josep Maria Gurt , among others.
“In 2021 we will give the second Palarq Prize, which could not be awarded this year for obvious reasons,” says Carolina Bähr, a 49-year-old from Barcelona with Swiss roots. The award will be awarded at the beginning of the year and will be presented in spring at the National Archaeological Museum (MAN).
This second edition of Palarq has 20 candidate projects from which the jury (rotating, but still counting on Yves Coppens, Pepe Serra and Luis Monreal) will select 6 finalists. Among the applicants are some already mentioned:
Heracleópolis, Oxirrinco, Djehuty, and also the project to study the Neanderthals of El Sidrón, the underwater archaeological research in the caves of Mallorca, the archeology of the Second Punic War of the Ili-tauro project, the study of the garum from the University of Cádiz, from the megaliths of Malaga and Seville (the dolmen of Menga and the tholos of Montelirio), from the Roman town of Salar, or from the Neolithic of La Draga in Banyoles.