It is my great pleasure to welcome you, through this website, to the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICAC). We are currently living in frenetic, intense, disquieting and, at the same time, exciting times. Classical archaeology, the study of the past in general, liberates us from our day-to-day anxieties and teaches us about life. Mediterranean and European societies and cultures have gone through many diverse changes and historical vicissitudes during their long history. The study of the ancient  Mediterranean provides us with the pleasure and tranquillity of knowing that we are here thanks to a long road trodden over many centuries. Nothing is eternal. We live in a world that is constantly changing.

As you will see from this website, the ICAC is a very active and dynamic research centre. It focuses on classical antiquity and the ancient Mediterranean, both geographically and in time, taking in the classical and pre-classical societies and cultures of the Mediterranean basin and the European continent in general. It is a research centre in Tarragona with an international vocation. Archaeology and antiquity possess the magical ability to bring us closer to global problems seen from a day-to-day perspective, from material culture in its widest sense. Archaeology is also heritage and culture, in so far as our activity generates material remains that, in the hands of society, become cultural heritage. The connection with the society that surrounds us is essential.

Therefore, contributing to the management of this rich archaeological heritage, that is so important precisely to Tarragona, has also been one of the Institute’s challenges. Another objective of our centre is advanced training ─master’s degrees and PhDs─ and fostering the research careers of young people at different stages in their post-doctoral studies until their stabilisation as researchers and the consolidation of their research teams. These are the trunk and branches of the research tree, without which none of the rest would make sense. The training of young people and their insertion into the Catalan and international research community has been a priority of the Institute since its inception in 2003.

Over the years, the ICAC has gained prestige and recognition. Today it is a world benchmark in its field and a recognised leader in innovation and the development of projects and research lines. Its ability to attract international talent is already a reality and will hopefully continue in the coming years. The balance between training, fostering research careers and attracting talent locally and from abroad is the basis for the consolidation of the research teams that, with effort and commitment, fosters the activity of the Institute in the framework of Catalan archaeology.

We are witnessing a moment of major change in the Institute. This September it will be celebrating its 15th anniversary! And we can celebrate the return to Tarragona of researchers who trained here and who, years after beginning a complex postdoctoral journey around the world, can come back to the Institute, financed by highly competitive programmes, to lead projects and to further consolidate the teams. All this gives meaning to so much effort and so much perseverance.

Thus we begin the 2018-2019 academic year with great strength and energy, aware of the difficulties facing us, but happy and charged with experience and knowledge to continue with success and commitment all the work already carried out. We seek to open up new international projects that will further consolidate the Institute’s recognition, financing, attraction of talent and teamwork.

Companions, friends… Welcome the ICAC.

Josep Maria Palet,
Acting Director

Tarragona, 2 August 2018