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Oscar Moro Abadia


Associate Professor


  • PhD Universidad de Cantabria, Spain 2006
  • MA (DEA) Universidad de Cantabria, Spain 2000
  • BA (Licenciatura) Universidad de Cantabria, Spain 1998


Phone: 864-3439
Office: QC 4019

Research Interests

Since I became professionally involved in historical and archaeological research in 1998, I have developed research and publications in several interrelated areas. First, my main research interest lies in the history of science and the history of archaeology. The interest for the history of archaeology has led me to participate in several international projects, including the coordination of the AREA project (Archives of European Archaeology) in Paris, a research network dedicated to the history of archaeology financed by the “Programme 2000” of the European Commission. I have also organized two major conferences on post-colonialism and archaeology and published numerous articles on the topic.

Second, I have developed an increasing interest in the history and philosophy of science. I have been particularly focused upon the history of the concepts of “presentism”, “externalism” and “internalism”, publishing a number of peer-reviewed articles, including some papers in journals such as History of Science, Asclepio and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science.

Third, my combined interests in the history of archaeology and the history of science have resulted in intense research on the history and epistemology of Prehistoric art. In particular, I have analysed some of the categories and concepts (“style”, “mobiliary art”, “rock art”) used by Western European and American archaeologists, anthropologists and art historians to classify prehistoric images. I have published nearly twenty essays in this area, including some articles in French and English peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Anthropological Research, the Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française and the Journal of Social Archaeology. I have also participated in numerous international conferences, specifically in those concerned with historical and theoretical interpretations of Paleolithic art research.

Current Research Interests:

  • In the field of the history of archaeology, I am looking for scholars and students to develop a project about the history of archaeology in Canada. In particular, I would like to focus on the implications of important stereotypes about First Nations people that Canadian archaeologists have historically created and supported. This project seeks to provide those scientists (including anthropologists, linguists, sociologists and historians) working with the cultural heritage of First Nations peoples with a better understanding of the stereotypes that have influenced their activities. Moreover, a project of this kind could provide archaeologists with a social history of their discipline concerned with how certain biases have influenced the interpretation of archaeological remains.
  • In the field of the history of science, I am currently working on the analysis of some concepts traditionally used by historians of science (such as “precursor” and “discovery”) and the examination of their application to the history of archaeology.
  • In the field of prehistoric art, I am working on a book on the genealogy of prehistoric art where I deconstruct the theoretical foundations of Western interpretations of prehistoric representations.

Academic Background

I spent five years (2001-2006) completing my doctoral dissertation Archaeology and the History of Science: Towards a Critical History of Archaeology, published in 2007 with a preface by Professor Bruce G. Trigger. During that time, I worked at several universities, including École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie (Nanterre), University College of London (London), University of California (Berkeley). In 2006-2007 I developed a post-doc project at University of Toronto, under the direction of Dr. Michael Chazan. During the last two years, I spent several months working at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris) and at the Center for the Study of Human Origins (New York).

Recent Publications


Roldán, C.; Moro Abadía, O. 2009. (eds.) Aproximaciones a la contingencia. Historia y actualidad de una idea. La Catarata, Madrid.

Moro Abadía, O. 2007. Arqueología Prehistórica e Historia de la ciencia: Hacia una historia crítica de la arqueología (Prehistoric Archaeology and History of Science: Towards a Critical History of Archaeology), Ed. Bellaterra, Barcelona. Preface by Bruce G. Trigger.

Moro Abadía, O. 2006. La perspectiva genealógica de la historia (The Genealogical Perspective of History), Universidad de Cantabria, Santander.


Moro Abadía, O. 2009. Thinking about ‘presentism’ from a historian’s perspective: Herbert Butterfield and Hélène Metzger, History of Science, xlvii, 55-77.

Moro Abadía, O.; González Morales, M. R. 2008. Palaeolithic art studies at the beginning of the 21st century: A loss of innocence, Journal of Anthropological Research 64 (4), 529-552.

Moro Abadía, O. 2008. Beyond the Whig Interpretation of History: lessons on ‘presentism’ from Hélène Metzger. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 39 (2), 194-201.

Moro Abadía, O.; González Morales, M. R. 2007. Thinking about style in the “post-stylistic era”: Reconstructing the stylistic context of Chauvet. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 26 (2), 109-125.

Moro Abadía, O.; González Morales, M. R. 2007. L’art paléolithique est-il un “art”? Réflexions autour d’une questions d’actualité. L’Anthropologie 11, 687-704.

Moro Abadía, O. 2006. Art, Crafts and Paleolithic Art, Journal of Social Archaeology 6 (1), 119- 141.

Moro Abadía, O. 2006. The history of archaeology as a “colonial discourse”. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 16 (2), 4- 17.

Moro Abadía, O.; González Morales, M. R. 2005. L’analogie et la représentation de l’art primitif à la fin du XIXe siècle, L’Anthropologie, 109, pp. 703- 721.

Moro Abadía, O. 2005. Pour une nouvelle historie des sciences humaines: Lartet. Mortillet, Piette et le temps de la Préhistoire, Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française, 102 (4), 715- 720.

Moro Abadía, O.; González Morales, M. R. 2004. Towards a Genealogy of the Concept of “Paleolithic Mobiliary Art. Journal of Anthropological Research, Volume 60(3), 321- 339.