Conflict on the Northern Front: Archaeological perspectives on the Spanish Civil War at Monte Bernorio, Palencia, Spain

Jesús F. Torres-Martínez, Manuel Fernández-Götz*, Alicia Hernández-Tórtoles, Antxoka Martínez-Velasco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The archaeology of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) has experienced an important development over the last two decades. Several field projects have studied aspects such as mass graves, forced labor camps, and battlefields. In this paper, we present a case study from the so-called “Northern Front” (Frente Norte). The impressive mountain of Monte Bernorio, situated at the foothills of the Cantabrian Mountains, controls one of the main communication routes between the central Spanish plateau (Meseta) and the Cantabrian Sea. Due to this strategic position, the site has played an important military role during two episodes of war separated by nearly 2,000 years: the Roman conquest of northern Iberia under Emperor Augustus in the 20s BCE, and the Spanish Civil War in the years 1936-37. The ongoing archaeological excavations and surveys are uncovering abundant remains of trenches, battering positions, barracks, and munitions belonging to the Civil War period, when Bernorio was a highly disputed position in the confrontation between “Republicans” and “Nationalists.” Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, this paper combines archaeological evidence, oral history, and written documents that shed light on one of the main episodes of Franco’s conquest of northern Spain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Historical Archaeology
Early online date11 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Aug 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • fortifications
  • Frente Norte
  • Monte Bernorio
  • Spain
  • Spanish Civil War

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