Lawrence Straus receiving bronze 'baston de mando.'  Photo courtesy of  Ana Belen Marin-Arroyo
Lawrence Straus receiving bronze 'baston de mando.' Photo courtesy of Ana Belen Marin-Arroyo

Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Lawrence Straus was given a "homenaje" by the Sociedad Prehistroica de Cantabria in Santander, Spain. The "homenaje" is similar to a lifetime achievement award, for the extensive excavation and research he and his Spanish colleague, Professor Manuel R. González Morales, have conducted at El Mirón Cave in Cantabria, and for more than 40 years of research and publications on Cantabrian Spain since 1972.

This summer, Straus also gave the keynote address on his interpretation of the Solutrean period (23-20,000 years ago) and presented a paper on El Mirón Solutrean occupations at the II Congreso del Solutrense in Almeria (Andalucia). In addition, he gave two lectures on Upper Paleolithic human adaptations and economy and on the El Mirón human burial in the parliament of the Cantabrian region in Santander, and a public talk on the El Miron Project in a series of lectures on prehistory in which he has participated for many years in the town of Puente Viesgo, below the great site of El Castillo in Cantabria.

Straus has spent 17 years actively excavating El Mirón.  Each summer since 1996 he has led a team of graduate and undergraduate students in search of information about the people who lived in or used the cave.  He spent this summer in Spain doing analyses of stone and bone artifacts collected from El Mirón and consulting with the human paleontologists who are analyzing the skeleton found there in 2010-11. The remains have been carbon-dated to be about 19,000 years old. A monograph, "El Miron Cave", was published by UNM Press in February.

Straus is a renowned expert on the Upper Paleolithic and has specialized on the early modern humans who replaced the Neanderthals in Western Europe some 35-40,000 years ago.  He has excavated in SW France, Portugal and Belgium, as well as in Spain. His 19th book, "The Magdalenian Settlement of Europe," which he co-edited with T. Terberger of Universitat Greifswald in Germany and D. Leesch of Universite de Neuchatel in Switzerland,  already available electronically, is due out in hard copy as a special double issue of "Quaternary International" in September.  Straus has been Editor-in-Chief of UNM's "Journal of Anthropological Research" since 1995.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627; email: