Inora Newsletter #46


Our colleague Professor Antonio Beltrán Martínez, who was respectfully and affectionately known to all of us as ‘Don Antonio’, was among the great specialists in rock art and one of Iberia’s most eminent researchers.

His activity was untiring and multifold. Appointed Professor at Zaragoza University in 1949, he taught Archaeology, Epigraphy and Numismatics before specialising in Prehistory and prehistoric art in particular. He had numerous students and disciples, several of whom occupy significant positions in universities or museums.

He gave us a very large number of publications, as he was determined to share his knowledge and wrote easily and eloquently. He wrote authoritative still valuable works on the art of the Levant and elsewhere, as well as monographs on Spanish and French sites (caves like Le Portel, Niaux and Bédeilhac). He also wrote on many other subjects, for example Aragonese cookery, for he was passionate about his home area where he spent most of his life and was interested in all of its aspects. He also regularly took part in very popular radio programmes about various facets of Aragonese life.
His activities were not just confined to teaching and research. We owe to him the creation of the remarkable Rock Art Park of Rio Martín. He also created the Aragón Museum of Ethnology and natural Sciences. For numerous years he was one of the leading figures of the ICOMOS International Rock Art Committee. He was also for many years the Spanish representative at the International Union of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences and chaired, until his death, its Prehistoric Art Commission (IUSPP Commission 9).

He gained many honours over his long career. He accepted them with simplicity, gratefully but with a touch of humour. Above all, he was happy in the field: in the depths of Palaeolithic caves or in the Australian Outback or Brazilian jungles, camera in hand, always searching for new forms of rock art. He had many friends as he was someone honest and upright, respected and profoundly esteemed by his colleagues. Until the end of his life, despite uncertain health and the death of his beloved wife, he kept working and working. He was, and is, an example to us all.


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