Don Luis Pericot Garcia

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Don Luis Pericot, an Honorary Fellow, who died on 12 October 1978, was the finest ambassador for Spanish prehistory, and one of its founding fathers. His interests in prehistory were very wide, and although his name will always be associated with the Cave of Parpallo and the Upper Palaeolithic of eastern Spain, he made important studies also in the enigmatic Levantine Art of that area, in the Iberian Iron Age and in American Archaeology. In his later years although his major field studies and publications were behind him, Spanish and foreign students of Spanish prehistory all turned to him for his wise advice and generous encouragement.

Born in Gerona in 1899 he was a student and later colleague of Bosch Gimpera. His initial studies were in Catalan pre-history, particularly the megalithic monuments but in 1925 he won the Chair of Ancient and Mediaeval History at Santiago and in 1927 moved to the Chair of Modem and Contemporary History at Valencia, where he undertook the work with which his name will always be associated. He moved to the chair at Barcelona in 1934 and was admitted to the Real Academia de Historia.

In 1927 the foundation of the Servicio de Investigation Prehistorica of the Diputacion Provincial de Valencia set the stage for important scientific archaeological work in the province. Don Luis was a Subdirector and with the support of this organization and the encouragement of the Abbe Breuil, he began the excavation of the cave of Parpallo in 1929. For the first time there was a site in eastern Spain which could provide evidence rather than opinion about the links or lack of links between Africa and Europe in the late Pleistocene; a stratified sequence of industries to which other eastern Spanish sites could be related; and a stratified sequence of painted and engraved plaques which could throw light on the associations of Upper Palaeolithic Art. Although the haste, the completeness and the methods of the excavation are easy to criticise now, for the time fifty years ago they were good, and the recent radiocarbon dating of the bones collected in the original excavation has vindicated in some measure Pericot’s observations of stratigraphy. The publication of the excavations in 1942 was delayed by the Civil War. It remains one of the fundamental documents of Spanish prehistory.

Iain Davidson

This obituary first appeared as: Davidson, Iain. 1980. ‘Obituary’. RAIN, No. 36, p. 12 Reproduced with permission.


To cite this article:

DAVIDSON, IAIN. 1980. ‘Obituary’. RAIN, No. 36, p. 12 (available on-line:


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