Research project I                        

"Organización funcional de los espacios eclesiásticos en las sedes episcopales de la Cataluña Vieja (I): Seu d’Urgell, Elna, Girona y Vic (ss. IX-XII). (2010-2012) 

Main objective: Material and documentary study of the sacred and domestic architecture of the cathedrals and of the visual programs that provided those spaces with liturgical-doctrinal meaning. Examination of the four episcopal sees of pyrenean Catalonia during the Pre-romanesque and Romanesque periods: Seu d ’Urgell, Vic, Girona and Elna. The analysis of these four cathedrals will reveal the behaviour of two artistic and sociocultural parameters in the Spanish Middle Ages: integration (what and how solutions developed in other Hispanic or French territories were assumed) and evolution (how was the spatial organization and the articulation of the visual programs transformed from the local solutions). 

This project will be optimally developed and concluded by an interdisciplinary team made up of eight doctors and one PhD post graduate student. The selection of members fits the needs of the project: historians of the art, the architecture and the liturgy, archaeologists and architects. Several members of the team have carried out or are developing partial studies in some of these cathedral settings, which guarantees the progress and resolution of the research. We can assert that these cathedral settings, which we will study in a systematic and exhaustive way from its own materiality, contain a very valuable cultural and cultual not revealed information. 

Aims of the reseach: 

1.- To fix exactly the processes and sequences of the constructive evolution, the topographic modifications and the organization of the ecclesiastical spaces inside the temples (presbiteries, choirs, naves, chapels, tribunes, crypts) and in the outside (cloisters, halls, chapels, episcopium). Technological examination of the stratigraphic order of the buildings and the archaeological rests of the substrates, still not applied to the scientific study of these cathedral settings. The structures of each scope will be analized by means of mechanical procedures, already used in previous works, which provide very accurate information: photogrammetries, ortophotographies, infrared and 3D scanner (with digitalised restitution). 
Knowing to what extent every constructive stage considered preceding buildings, what will be achieved by exploring subsoils with a georadar. When studying other temples, some members of this team have already used satisfactorily this efficient, innocuous and economical alternative to improbable archaeological prospectings (although we could deal with them: some members of the group have broad archaeological experience).

2.- To justify the spacial morphogenesis of each set. We understand buildings as  changing organisms, as historical realities developed  through the years. We focus on the phases of the Romanesque period without omitting neither previous nor later stages. We do research into architectonic diacrony as a framework of the synchrony of visual programs. 

.- To go from relative chronologies to the absolute ones. We will study the visual programs and we will compare the material reality of the buildings with documentary material (either inscribed or written, published or unpublished). Some of the members of this group have already examined complete documentary series of other ecclesiastical centers. 

.- To develop a cultural and political anthropology of the architectures and its images: to know causes, factors and functional and liturgical requirements of the configuration and organization of ecclesiastical spaces and visual programs. And also how ceremonial spaces were created with images.

Research project II

"Catedrales románicas en la provincia eclesiástica tarraconense (siglos XI-XIII): programas visuales, liturgia y arquitectura en Tarragona, Roda de Isábena, Huesca, Zaragoza y Pamplona”. 

Main objective: examining and documenting the construction processes of the cathedral complexes is a starting point for our group. Our study develops a cross-cutting approach that is new to the Spanish historiography: the study from the materialness (wall painting, archaeological, figurative, sumptuary and funerary) to the unmaterialness (liturgical protocols, professional circuits, acoustic possibilities, light facilities, visibilities, dogma transmission, ideological persuasion, sensorial experiences). 

In fact, we are interested in knowing more about the causes and factors of the building works: the functional and liturgical requirements established by the promoters of the configuration and organization of the ecclesiastic spaces and the visual programs developed in the temples' different sectors. We believe that it is a priority to identify the resources and facilities that were activated to experience spaces and perceive images in context.

We give priority to knowing how the visual sculptural and painting cycles, the liturgical furniture and the worship images helped establishing a hierarchy among the cathedral's spaces, spatializing the religious and ceremonial activities. We start from the archaeological exploration and we examine typologies and iconographies, nevertheless providing a methodological horizon: developing a historical, cultural and political anthropology of the architecture, its images and users. 

This anthropological view that enables this kind of examination of the ritual spaces and their images allowed and allow us to focus on the dynamics of interaction between segments of the medieval societies and their representations and social imaginaries.

Results of the project during its period of operating capacity. 

1.-Besides the publication of the scientific conclusions through research papers of specific subjects, that shall be sent to conferences and indexed reviews, we can state now that the studies concerning Huesca and Roda de Isábena will have a projection on the corresponding sections of the "Enciclopedia del Románico en España. Huesca" published by the Fundación Santa María la Real of Aguilar de Campoo (EPO). 

2.- Given our experience in previous projects (La Seu d'Urgell, Oviedo) and our contacts with the technicians in charge of the cathedrals of Tarragona and Pamplona, we can predict that the results of our research will have a precise applicability, as it will be possible to integrate them in plans seeking to improve the knowledge and conservation of the complexes. 

3.- We will publish the results of our studies in the website of our group, prioritizing the virtual catalogue of the dispersed lapidary collections of each one of the sees. The ultimate objective is to create a computer database on lapidary remains, as a Virtual Museum, that allows developments in the reconstruction of the history of the complexes and optimizes knowledge on artistic activities in them. 

4.- At the end of the period of the project, we will hold an international congress that will be published as a collective volumen. This result will follow the path of the congress which this group has organised and has take place in Girona and Vic the 7-10 of November 2012, as an epilogue of the past project.

5.- The scholar will be entrusted with writing a thesis on the urban implantation and organization of the episcopal sees, their canonical neighbourhoods and their related historical substrata (Roman or Muslim) in the Tarraconense ecclesiastic province between the 11th and the 13th centuries, to be accomplished in a three-year period (2013-2015).