calpe conference

         Caves as Archives

  The Rock of Gibraltar as a Case Study

The world around us is in constant flux, but each human lifetime offers an insignificant snapshot within an enormous timescale.  Even the accumulated experience represented by recorded history is but a small drop in the vast ocean of deep time.  But how do we access the datasets required for detailed scientific enquiry at such an enormous temporal scale?


This year’s Calpe Conference, jointly organised by the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS) and the Gibraltar Museum aims to answer this question.  It will do so by exploring the full extent of information that can be gathered when caves are treated as archives of a changing planet.  Gibraltar is at the forefront of some of these areas of research: the Gibraltar Museum and the GONHS Cave Science Unit are, together with their international collaborators, important players in the fields of archaeology, geomorphology and climate science.  The local teams and international participants will be delivering what promises to be a far-ranging, insightful and exciting Calpe Conference.




                                        Saturday 14th September

09:15     Official Opening

09:30     Keith Bensusan1 and Clive Finlayson2

                          1Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society, Gibraltar

              2The Gibraltar Museum, Gibraltar

               Introductory remarks on the theme of the conference

09:45     Alex Menez 12

              1Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society, Gibraltar

              2 The Gibraltar Museum, Gibraltar

              Gibraltar diamonds. On the history of geology, cave exploration and

              excavations in Gibraltar

10:45     Coffee

11:15     Joaquin Rodriquez-Vidal

              Universidad de Huelva, Spain

              Why do caves exist in Gibraltar?

12:15     Jean-Paul Latin1, Richard Durell1, Mark Ainsworth1, Tim Atkinson2,

              David Mattey3.

              1Gibraltar Cave Science Unit, Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural

              History Society, Gibraltar

              2 Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, UK

              3Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University

              of London, UK

              Environmental monitoring in the St Michael’s and Ragged Staff

              cave systems

13:15    Lunch

15:00     Stewart Finlayson123, Nicholas Ferrary1, José Aguilera4,

              Julio Aguilera4, Frank Baglietto1, Ruth Blasco 2, Ian Bonfiglio1,

              Darren Fa 2, Geraldine Finlayson 2, Francisco Giles Pacheco1,

              Martin Graffione1, José María Gutierrez López 5,

              Richard Jennings 6, Tyson Lee Holmes1, Francis Mena1,

              Alexander Mirza1, 2, Dino Navarro1, Joaquín Rodríguez-Vidal 7,

              Jordi Rosell8, Giovanni Santini1, Clive Finlayson 2,*.

             1 The Gibraltar Museum Caving Unit.

             2 The Gibraltar Museum

             3 Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

             4 Grupo de investigaciones espeleológicas de Jerez(GIEX)

             5 Museo de Villamartín, Spain

             6 University of Oxford, UK

             7 Universidad de Huelva, Spain

             8 Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

             *Project Co-ordinator

             The Grand Reference Library: Gibraltar’s Caves –

             a unique source of historical and biological information

16:00     Tea

16:30     Carles Hernando

              Water & Cave Beetle Evolution Laboratory, Institut de Biologia

              Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF), Spain

              The Subterranean Environment, its Fauna and Sampling Methods

17:30     Discussion

19:00     Conference Welcome Reception

                           Sunday 15th September – Earth Science

09:30     Inaugural Lecture

              Joaquín Rodríguez-Vidal

              Universidad de Huelva, Spain

              The Gibraltar Karst Landscape – Gibraltar geology as a cave factory

10:30     Coffee

11:00     Ian Fairchild

              University of Birmingham, UK

              Cave deposits (speleothems) as archives of past

              environments and climates

12:00     Mattey. D1, Ainsworth, M6, Atkinson, T2, Dredge, J3, Durell, R6,    

              Fairchild, I3, Fischer, M5, Fisher, R1, Grassineau, N1, Hoffmann, D4,

              Latin, J-P6 and Lowry, D1.


             1Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of   

             London, UK

             2 Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, UK

             3 School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences,

             University of Birmingham, UK

             4 CENIEH, Burgos, Spain

             5 Institute for Environmental Research,

             Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas      

             Heights, New South Wales, Australia

             6 Gibraltar Cave Science Unit, Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural 

             History Society, Gibraltar

             The archives of Gibraltar caves: their record of environment and

             regional climate over multiple ice age cycles

13:00     Lunch

15:00     Mike Rogerson

              University of Hull, UK

              Greening the Sahara: stalagmites, isotopes and mankind’s route

              out of Africa

16:00     Tea

16:30     Geoff Bailey

              University of York

              Sea level change, the coastal shelf and submerged

              archaeological sites in the context of the great human dispersals

17:30    Discussion

                                        Monday 16th September

          Anthropology, Archaeology and Ecology of Past Environments

09:30     Clive Finlayson

              The Gibraltar Museum

              Gibraltar’s Caves and human occupation before 10 thousand

              years ago

10:30     Coffee

11:00     José María Gutierrez López

              Museo de Villamartín, Spain

              Gibraltar’s Caves and human occupation after 10 thousand

              years ago

12:00    Geraldine Finlayson

              The Gibraltar Museum

              Using evidence in Gibraltar’s caves to reconstruct past landscapes

13:00     Lunch

15:00     Darren Fa

              The Gibraltar Museum

              Gibraltar’s Caves – the submerged component

16:00     Tea

16:30     Richard Jennings

              University of Oxford, UK

              The application of Geographic Information Systems to

              the study of caves, with particular reference to Gibraltar

17:30     Discussion

                              Tuesday 17th September - Biology

09:30     Hugues-Alexandre Blain

              IPHES, Tarragona, Spain

              Caves as archives of herpetofaunas over time

10:30     Coffee

11:00     Ignacio Ribera

              Water & Cave Beetle Evolution Laboratory, Institut de Biologia   

               Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF), Spain

              The subterranean environment – a dead end or an opportunity?

12:00     Carlos Juan Clar

              Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain

              Historical biogeography and evolution in cave crustaceans:   

              molecular phylogenetic approaches

13:00     Lunch

15:00     Anita Glove

              University of Leeds, UK

              Caves as a critical, but threatened, resource to bats

16:00     Tea

16:30     Keith Bensusan1, Clive Finlayson2,

              1Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society,


              2Gibraltar Museum

              Closing Remarks: on the importance of the conservation of our


17:30      Official Closing