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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Dr Aitor Ruiz-Redondo 

visiting research fellow

Dr Aitor Ruiz-Redondo

Dr Aitor Ruiz-Redondo is Newton International postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southampton.

I graduated in History (2009, University of Saragossa), Master’s in Prehistory and Archaeology (2010, University of Cantabria) and a PhD in Prehistory and Archaeology with International mention and Extraordinary Doctoral Award (2014, University of Cantabria). During my doctorate, I undertook different research stays at international centres, such as the Travaux et Recherches Archéologiques sur les Cultures, Espaces et les Sociétés (TRACES - UMR 5608) laboratory at the University of Toulouse II, and the Department of Archaeology at the University of Belgrade. In 2016-2018 I held an IdEx International fellowship at the PACEA laboratory, University of Bordeaux.

My research interests are the graphic and symbolic productions from European Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer societies. In particular, I have explored the issues surrounding the origin of this phenomenon and, especially, the social and cultural circumstances surrounding its disappearance. I have led a number of research projects in northern Spain, including Altxerri (Gipuzkoa, Spain) and Las Monedas (Cantabria, Spain), both registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List for their importance.

The aim of my previous project (“BALKARTS”, University of Bordeaux) was to test the traditional paradigm that considered Palaeolithic rock art as a Western European phenomenon. The research hypothesis was that the lack –or scarcity- of Upper Palaeolithic decorated sites in other territories (such as the Balkans) is mainly due to an absence of specialists and research projects addressing that issue. To examine that hypothesis, I led an archaeological rock art survey in more than 80 Palaeolithic sites within the Danubian corridor and the Adriatic Coast (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bulgaria). This led to the documentation of the first four Palaeolithic rock art sites in the area, enlarging the distribution of this phenomenon.

This served as a starting point for my current Newton International research programme (2019-2021): “Defining cultural boundaries in the European Upper PALAEOlithic: Archaeology and Rock arT in EASTern Europe (PALAEOARTEAST)”. This project examines the question of the origins and the geographical distribution of Palaeolithic cave art through an archaeological analysis and broader contextualization of two key decorated Western Balkan Palaeolithic sites: Badanj and Romualdova pecina. It addresses two research questions: 1) What is the chronological and geographical framework of Palaeolithic rock art? and 2) How do we characterize the main traits of Palaeolithic art and symbolism in Eastern and Central Europe, and in relation to the better-known cave art from SW Europe? The PALAEOARTEAST project aims to analyse and contextualise the paintings and the engravings documented in the two key sites, through the excavation, a series of radiometric datings (AMS-C14 and U/Th), pigment and geo-archaeological analysis of their immediate archaeological context. This will provide accurate data for the first time about the chronology and the archaeological characteristics of the first two Palaeolithic rock art sites discovered in the Balkans.

Dr Aitor Ruiz-Redondo
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus, Highfield
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom
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