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Princess of Asturias Awards 05/18/2022
A scholar and promoter of the Mexican pre-Columbian world, as well as a leading communicator in this field of knowledge, Eduardo Matos Moctezuma has carried out his fieldwork in archaeological sites such as Comalcalco, Tepeapulco, Bonampak, Teotihuacan, Cholula, Tula, Tlatelolco and Tenochtitlan, among others
Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma has been bestowed with the 2022 Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences, as announced today by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.
The Jury for the Award –convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Emilio Lamo de Espinosa Michels de Champourcin and composed of Paz Battaner Arias, Javier Echeverría Ezponda, Juan Pablo Fusi Aizpurúa, Mauro Guillén Rodríguez, Óscar Loureda Lamas, Araceli Mangas Martín, Manuel Menéndez Menéndez, Jaime Montalvo Correa, Montserrat Moreno Marimón, Jaime Pérez Renovales, Rafael Puyol Antolín, Fernando Vallespín Oña and Marta Elvira Rojo (as acting secretary).
This candidature was put forward by Adolfo Castañón, Secretary of the Mexican Academy of the Spanish Language (AML), 2000 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, and by Enrique Graue Wiechers, Rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), 2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities.
Eduardo Matos Moctezuma was born in Mexico City on 11th December 1940. He graduated in Archaeology from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) and obtained his Master’s degree in Anthropological Sciences, specializing in Archaeology, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he also earned his doctorate. He held a chair at the ENAH for more than thirty years, where he taught General Archaeology, Development of Societies, Mesoamerica and History of Archaeology, in addition to heading the Seminario Regional Mexica and the Laboratory of Materials and History of Mexico. He has been director of the National Museum of Anthropology’s Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology and the Templo Mayor Museum. He has taught courses and seminars at institutions in a variety of countries.
A scholar and promoter of the Mexican pre-Columbian world, as well as a leading communicator in this field of knowledge, Eduardo Matos Moctezuma has carried out his fieldwork in archaeological sites such as Comalcalco, Tepeapulco, Bonampak, Teotihuacan, Cholula, Tula, Tlatelolco and Tenochtitlan, among others. Some of the most relevant projects he has headed comprise the comprehensive investigation of pre-Columbian, colonial and modern Tula sites, which he directed in the 1970s; Teotihuacan, where he excavated the Pyramid of the Sun and founded the Museum of Teotihuacan Culture and the Center for Teotihuacan Studies; and the city of Tenochtitlan, its sacred precinct and the Templo Mayor, whose discovery and project he coordinated from its beginnings in 1978.
With more than five hundred publications, including articles, reviews, catalogues, guides and biographical sketches, he has also written several books, including Muerte a filo de obsidiana (1975, with twelve editions), The Aztecs (English translation, 1989), La metrópoli de los dioses (1990), Teotihuacán (1994), Life and Death in the Templo Mayor (English translation, 1995), Las piedras negadas (1998), La muerte entre los mexicas (2010), Grandes hallazgos de la arqueología. De la muerte a la inmortalidad (2013) and, his latest, Tlatelolco. La última ciudad, la primera resistencia (2021). Eduardo Matos has been chiefly responsible for disseminating culture thanks to various programmes at Mexican museums aimed at making the contents better known to young people and those with physical or intellectual disabilities. He has likewise curated exhibitions such as “Aztecs” for the Royal Academy of Arts in London and “Isis and Quetzalcoatl” at the Monterrey Forum of Cultures and “Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco. 500 years after its fall” at the Templo Mayor Museum, both in Mexico.
The holder of honorary doctorates from the University of Colorado and UNAM, Matos is Chevalier of France’s National Order of Merit and Order of Academic Palms, and Officier of its Order of Arts and Letters. He has received the Henry B. Nicholson Medal from Harvard University (USA, 2002), Mexico’s National Prize for Sciences and Arts (2007), the Andrés Bello Order of Venezuela and the Xalapa Museum of Anthropology Medal from the Universidad Veracruzana (Mexico, 2021), among other distinctions. Honorary member of the German Archaeological Institute and the Archaeological Institute of America, emeritus member of Mexico’s Funerary Art Society and member of El Colegio Nacional, the Mexican Academies of Language, History, and National History and Geography, as well as of the Mexican Society for the Study of Religions, he is also a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and member of the Mexican Societies of Geography and Statistics, Anthropologists of the Caribbean and Mexican Writers. In 2017, Harvard University created a chair in his name.
As stated in the Statutes of the Foundation, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences is to be granted to “creative and/or research work in the field of history, law, linguistics, teaching, political science, psychology, sociology, ethics, philosophy, geography, economics, demography or anthropology, as well as in the disciplines corresponding to each of these fields.”
This year, a total of 25 candidatures comprising 16 different nationalities were put forward for the Social Sciences Award.
This is the third of the eight Princess of Asturias Awards to be bestowed in what is now their forty-second year. Previously, the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts was jointly granted to flamenco singer Carmen Linares and flamenco dancer and choreographer María Pagés, while the Award for Communication and Humanities went to journalist Adam Michnik. The corresponding Awards for Sports, Literature, International Cooperation, Technical and Scientific Research, and Concord shall be announced in the coming weeks (in the preceding order).
As is customary, the presentation of the Princess of Asturias Awards will take place in October in a solemn ceremony presided over by TM The King and Queen, accompanied by TRH Leonor, Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofía of Spain.
Each Princess of Asturias Award comprises a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolizing the Award, a diploma, an insignia and a cash prize of fifty thousand euros.
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