Saúl Manzano, former SEK International School El Castillo student and current Botany professor at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences of the University of León, has joined the Atapuerca research project together with his partner Laura Rodríguez, from the department of Physical Anthropology. Both will work on the subproject directed by Juan Luis Arsuaga and José Miguel Carretero.

This project researches and analyses the deposits of the Sierra de Atapuerca, in the province of Burgos, the most important in Europe, since they were the cradle of the first inhabitants of the continent one and a half million years ago. What makes Atapuerca a unique place in the world is that the remains of five different hominid species have been found : Homo sp. (yet to be described), Homo antecessor, preneanderthals, Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

The team behind this project, which Manzano joins this year, began its research four decades ago. It has received the Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research in 1997 and has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.

Manzano, who is also a member of the Quaternary Palynology Laboratory of the Institute of the Environment of the ULE, will collaborate with the reconstruction of the changes in the vegetation and climate over the last 33,000 years at the site of the Portalón de Cueva Mayor. This site contains remains that go back to the last ice age, when a large part of the European continent was covered by masses of ice, and where evidence of the cultural changes that occurred between the last hunter-gatherers and the first Neolithic farmers have been found.

(Source: website of the University of León).