Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities

Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (ICTS)

Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructures Map (ICTS)

National Research Centre on Human Evolution (CENIEH)

The CENIEH was founded in 2004 as a public consortium equally co-financed by the Central Government and the Regional Government of Castilla y León. Since 2009, its facilities have been located in one of the buildings of the Complex of Human Evolution, in the city of Burgos.

The CENIEH facilitates research into the field of Human Evolution during the Pliocene and the Pleistocene eras, promoting awareness and transfer of knowledge to society as well as promoting and supporting collaboration with excavations at archaeological sites from these periods, both in Spain and in other parts of the world. The CENIEH is also responsible for the conservation, restoration, management and record of palaeontological and archaeological collections from the excavations at Atapuerca and other sites, both nationally and internationally, with similar characteristics that reach agreements with the Centre.

Main Characteristics

Currently, it consists of five research programmes: Spatial and Economic Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, Geochronology, Paleobiology of Hominids and Prehistoric Technology. Additionally, the CENIEH features laboratories, a specialized library, multi-purpose rooms, open spaces and work areas that have been equipped so that the research on Human Evolution can become an international point of reference. The laboratories that give it its status as a ICTS, regarded as essential, are grouped into three major technical areas:

  • The area of Sedimentology and characterization of materials: including laboratories of Microscopy, Micro-Computed Tomography, Archaeometry, Geology, and Rooms for preparing thin sections of rock and studying soil micromorphology.
  • The area of Geochronology: Includes large facilities and laboratories for Uranium Series dating, Luminescence, ESR, and Archaeomagnetism as well as the corresponding spaces for preparation of samples, such as a Clean Room, Dark Room, and a room for sample preparation for dating of cosmogenic nuclides plus transverse equipment, HPGe germanium detectors, and a gamma irradiator.
  • The area of Collections, Conservation, and Restoration: devoted to management and conservation of material from national and international excavation sites, especially from Atapuerca.


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