The assessment and interpretation of the mine was performed within the framework of the Casa Montero Project. This project arose out of the directive of the Dirección General de Patrimonio Histórico de la Comunidad de Madrid to reduce the loss of heritage and knowledge that would been occasioned by the construction of the M50 motorway. This required the exhaustive examination of the documented remains. With approval from the Ministerio de Fomento, an agreement was signed in February 2007 between the Consejería de Cultura y Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid, Autopistas Madrid Sur Concesionaria Española S.A. and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) to undertake what was given the name The Casa Montero Archaeological Research Project. Production and Circulation of flint in Central Iberia during the Neolithic. The project, which was financed entirely by Autopistas Madrid Sur Concesionaria Española S.A. via a 1% cultural fund associated with the M-50’s construction, was performed under the direction of Susana Consuegra and Pedro Díaz-del-Río of the Instituto de Historia (CSIC), and with the supervision of the Consejería of Cultura y Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid.
For just over three years, the CSIC team undertook an exhaustive examination of the site and its contents. This involved the building of a laboratory at the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales for the processing and study of the lithic material recovered.
The project paid special attention in transmitting the results to the scientific community and the public at large. This involved activities for schoolchildren, conferences at museums, cultural societies and universities, participation in the so-called Science Week, the dissemination of results via science magazines for the public, their publication in the specialised scientific literature, or their presentation at specialized meetings. Great effort was also invested in the development and implantation of SILEX (an acronym of Sistema de Información Locacional en XML), an SDI information system providing complete open access (both for consultation and use) to all the data generated by the project.
The Casa Montero Project permitted the continuity of the research team. This allowed the huge number of archaeological remains recovered to be examined, and the results made known, in a reasonable time.
Last but not least, the project paid special attention to the training of personnel. Indeed, two graduate students involved in the project undertook doctoral theses entitled “Work and Community in the Early Neolithic. Percussion tools at the Casa Montero flint mine (Madrid) (Marta Capote Fernández) and “Apprentices and Masters: recognising flint knapping learning processes at the Casa Montero Neolithic flint mine (Madrid) (Nuria Castañeda Clemente).
Presentation of the Collaboration Agreement for the investigation, conservation and dissemination of knowledge regarding the Casa Montero archaeological site (7 February 2007). From left to right: Leopoldo del Pino Calvo-Sotelo (Director General of Autopistas Madrid Sur CESA), Carlos Martínez (President of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), Santiago Fisas (Alderman for Culture and Sports, Comunidad de Madrid) and Javier Hernández (Director General for Historic Heritage, Comunidad de Madrid).
Photograph: Dept. of Communication, CSIC.
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Educational activities for groups during Science Week 2008. The public gets to know the material of Casa Montero.
Photograph: The Casa Montero Team
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