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 world 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 antiquity, 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 the material culture in its widest sense. Climatic emergency, resilience to change, social and economic conflicts, are today’s problems that societies of the past have already suffered. But, archaeology is also heritage and culture, in so far as our activity generates material remains that, in the hands of society, become archaeological and cultural heritage. Socialization, knowledge transfer and social impact of research results are 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 research groups and 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 2002.

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. The return of researchers trained in the centre after a complex postdoctoral career, the recruitment of new international talent, its funding throw very competitive programs to lead projects and consolidate teams and new research groups, is already a reality and will hopefully continue in the coming years. The balance between the training and the promotion of the research career and the attraction of talent is the basis for the consolidation of the research teams that with effort and commitment drive the activity of the Institute within the framework of Catalan archaeology. The balance between training, fostering research careers and attracting talent is the basis for the consolidation of the research teams that, with effort and commitment, foster the activity of the Institute in the framework of Catalan archaeology.

ICAC started a cycle change in 2018 characterized by growth, consolidation and internationalization. This moment of an important change in the Institute is consolidated, since beginning 2020, with the appointment of the director, the fourth to hold this position since the centre was created. We enter, then, in the 20s with great strength and energy, aware of the difficulties but happy and full of experience and skills; to continue with success and commitment all the work done; to open new international projects that further consolidate the centre recognition, funding, talent attraction and teamwork.

Colleagues, friends, welcome the ICAC.

Josep Maria Palet, director

Tarragona, 16 January 2020