Friday, 16 May, 2014 - 08:00 to 20:00

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The location of the Basque Country –the territory where Basque is currently spoken– in the bosom of the Basque Refuge enabled the survival of human groups, who were the descendants of those who had arrived about 45,000 years ago (in the Upper Palaeolithic), and who have been using their language since some remote stage in that period.

With the arrival of the Indo-Europeans in various waves 7,000–5,000 years ago, interesting questions emerge about the Celts who had come from the West, and the origin of the Celtic language and its subsequent spread across Europe –bearing in mind their contact with the Basque speakers in the Bay of Biscay–.

Flows of new cultures overlap with those of the original population, settled since the Palaeolithic; but the genetic lineages and the toponymy of that early culture, common throughout Western Europe in the Vasconic substratum, remain.

The domestication of animals and land cultivation was part of a culture that had already been developed in that hunter-gatherer society at the end of the Palaeolithic; it had been forced to adapt owing to the new conditions imposed by nature.

The tangible footprint of the presence of the Roman Empire constitutes a remarkable chronological record enabling us to reconstruct the history of our ancestors.

The Vascones in late antiquity organised in a space with a diversity of territories gave rise to Wasconia, which was to endure the pressure of the peoples who arrived in the 5th century, like the Visigoths who settled to the south, and the Franks to the north.

After the year 778 when the Basques defeated Charlemagne’s army, the kingdom of Pamplona was born, later known as the kingdom of Navarre; it survived in time yielding its territories down the centuries as a result of the attacks of its powerful neighbours until the last invasion of peninsular Navarre in 1512. After that, the kingdom was circumscribed to the territories north of the Pyrenees.

The Basque language maintained its presence over millennia while its territory of use gradually shrank; but it has survived all the languages that have arrived from outside, which have however rendered extinct others that it may have coexisted with. That led to the shaping of the map of Basque dialects that is still with us today.

Basque naval architecture displays its technology in the vessel that sank in 1465 in Newport, Wales. This technology would have encouraged explorations across the Atlantic at an early period: like that of the East Coast of North America.

Documents bear witness to the presence of Basque whale hunters and cod fishermen in Newfoundland: one of 1372 (the 19th century French author Figuier), others of 1342 (England) on the Basque fur traders in Canada (which take us back to 1292 because that was when the start of that trade in those parts was made possible, as researchers assert).

Documents in the archives of Paris endorse the proven presence of the Basques and their technology in the waters of the St. Lawrence at the start of the 16th century.

The Basque state of Navarre survived, albeit diminished, within a Europe that was being formed.


Friday 16 May 2014

08:00h: Handing out of documentation.

09:00h: Presentation and Opening of the Congress.

The son of the highlands.

09:25h Introduction. The ATLANTIAR project.
Fund for the study and dissemination of Basque culture.
Arraiotz. Navarre. Basque Country.

09:40h: Indo-European and non-Indo-European in Atlantic Europe in later prehistory and the emergence of Celtic.
Prof. Dr. JOHN KOCH. Linguist and Celtic Studies researcher.
University of Wales/Prifysgol Cymru.
Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies.
National Library of Wales.
Aberystwyth. Ceredigion. Cymru/Wales.

10:20h: Break. 30 minutes.

Silver denarii
made at the mint
in Baskunes,
close to Pamplona.
c. 2nd-1st BC.

Model boat in gold, found in Ireland, dating from the first century BC. Errotzate

Genetic lineages survive the overlapping of new cultures on the European Atlantic Façade. Gipuzkoa, glass bead and ceramic bell beaker.

10:50h: Permanence of early genetic lineages confronting the contribution of new population in the European Atlantic Façade.
Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology.
School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography.
University of Oxford. Oxford, UK.

11:30h: The Vasconic substratum in Central Europe:
Toponyms reflecting economy.

University Ludwig-Maximilian. Munich. Germany.

12:10h: Vasconic etymologies in a (pre-)historic perspective.
Dr. GEORG BOSSONG. Linguist.
University of Zurich. Switzerland.

12:50h: First signs of domestication of
animals and agriculture in the
Basque Country.

FERMIN LEIZAOLA. Ethnographer.
Aranzadi Sciences Society.
Donostia. Gipuzkoa. Basque Country.


13:10h: Break for lunch. One hour and a half.

14:40h: Vascones and Romans; approach to the history of the
Basque Country between 1st century B.C. and 5th century AD.

Dr. MERTXE URTEAGA. Historian. Archaeologist.
OIASSO Roman Museum. ARKEOLAN Foundation.
Irun. Gipuzkoa. Basque Country.


Urkulu, Aezkoa, Basque Pyrenees, c.1stBC. Roman soldiers, c.1stAD.

15:15h: Organization of the space; territories of the Vascones and their
neighbours. Late Antiquity, Franks and Visigoths.

Campus Gasteiz. Basque Country.

15:40: Basques around the Pyrenean Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Navarre, Basque state in Europe.

Prof. AITOR PESCADOR. Historian.
Aranzadi Sciences Society.
Donostia. Gipuzkoa. Basque Country.

Navarrese knight, c.13th.

16:15h: The Fifteenth-Century Newport Ship:
Basque Shipbuilding and Atlantic Trade.

Prof. NIGEL NAYLING. Archaeologist. University of Wales. Trinity
Saint David. School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology.
Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales.

16:45h: The Kingdom of Navarre
enduring the invasion of
its peninsular territory by
the crowns of Castile and Aragon.

Historian. Royal and General
Archive of Navarre.
Iruña. Navarre. Basque Country.

The Newport ship, which sank in 1465. Navarrese
c. 14th-15th .

17:05h Break. 15 minutes

Seal of Joan II,
Queen of Navarre. 1329.

17:20h: Evolution of the Basque language in the Middle Ages.
The spaces of the language after the invasion
of the Kingdom of Navarre.

Dr. KOLDO ZUAZO. Linguist.
UPV/EHU. Campus Gasteiz. Basque Country.

17:45h: Early presence of the Basques
along the Saint Lawrence river and in Canada.

Dr. LAURIER TURGEON. Anthropologist.
Canada Research Chair in Ethnological Heritage.
Director of the Research Laboratory
for Anthropological Multimedia
University of Laval. Qébec.

18:30h: Break. 15 minutes.

18:45h: Roundtable discussion.

19:45h: Closing Session.

The San Juan whaler, which sank in 1565 in Red Bay, Labrador.

Simultaneous interpretation: Basque, Spanish, French, English.

Scientific Organising Committee:

STEPHEN OPPENHEIMER. University of Oxford. England.
THEO VENNEMANN. University Ludwig-Maximilian. Munich. Germany.
LAURIER TURGEON.University of Laval. Quebec.
XABI OTERO. JAUZARREA fund for Basque Studies. Arraiotz. Navarre. Basque Country.