Resistance, Refuge, and Retaliation: The Use of Caves during the Spanish Civil War in Asturias


During the 2014 field season of the Archaeology of Violence in Asturias Project, a survey of caves in the Spanish province of Asturias was undertaken with the aim to document the usage of these subterranean shelters during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and their continued importance as vital landscape features in the guerrilla resistance movement (1939-65). These caves-- as well as other features such as roads, valleys, industrial buildings, and villages-- have long been ignored in anthropological and archaeological projects in Spain in favor of military archaeology-based approaches that focus on more formalized, "official" war sites: trenches, battlefields, and military prisons. This paper argues for a more macroscopic view of the Civil War, moving beyond site-based analysis to inter-site landscape interpretation. The diversity of use-types discovered through the survey of the caves as well as the caves’ articulation with other kinds of features demonstrates the materially totalizing nature of the conflict, forcing a broader archaeological interpretation of the Spanish Civil War that moves beyond isolated sites towards more complex understandings of a dynamic network of violence, power, and politics that shaped and was shaped by the particular landscape of Asturias.

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Resistance, Refuge, and Retaliation: The Use of Caves during the Spanish Civil War in Asturias. Valerie Bondura, Alfonso Fanjul Peraza, Vanesa Trevin Pita. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397837)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;