‘La senyora de les muntanyes’ looks like a skeleton and has certain jewels as valuable as herself. This Saturday we can go see it, taking advantage of the Night of the Museums, in one of the rooms of the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, where what remains of it is housed and which tells its story: it was found by a peasant and rescued by cavers from the depths of a cave in Coll de Nargó, in a Bronze Age tomb along with other men and another woman, they in a position of privilege. They had a high status in life. From the other side of the glass, they overwhelm her jewels that are anything but mute. From her existence you intuit what her life could mean and even more, it illuminates our consciousness of now, in 2022.

Caves, hidden pits and even lakes. We advance as in a loop, and whether due to political will or due to the climate crisis, and the present ties us to the past with a ball that could be said to be made of iron, heavy, with which we must continue advancing along the path of humanity. It is not just a weight: it is a code to decipher. Like the recovery of mass graves from the civil war.

The detailed notebook written in 1938, in the midst of the Civil War, by a Republican doctor has allowed 84 years later to identify a combatant in the Battle of the Ebro. The body had been found in 2016 in a pit together with 19 other soldiers thanks to a study of geolocation of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. The political and family will, the advances in DNA identification, and the meticulousness of a doctor who also preserved his notes on the location and characteristics of the war wounds of his patients, They were combined to finally bury a man who is already a historical memory with a name and surname a few days ago.

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hidden burials

The same path should be followed in the coming months by the investigative work of the United States Department of the Interior, which has just reported the discovery of hundreds of hidden burials of American Indian children in boarding schools in the country where they were forced to enter. Behind the discovery is the national embarrassment of identical cases found in Canada, also in Ireland. The Irish government opened a commission in 2014 to investigate after the discovery of 800 skeletons of children and babies in hidden underground chambers in a nunnery that had operated between 1925 and 1961. The report issued last year, and which extended the investigations by all the similar enclosures where single mothers were welcomed, raised the number of bodies found to thousands, and revealed a history of mistreatment of hitherto invisible women.

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The past that wanted to be buried literally, under mountains of earth and that sooner or later emerges to challenge us for what we did and hid, for what we rejected and now celebrate, be it diversity or ideological plurality. that the Stolpersteine, the stones of memory of the victims of the Nazi death campshave the shape of a small slab and are usually installed on the ground, on the pavement that we walk on, it is still a gesture towards what the earth preserves and still hides.

Archives that are made public, exhibitions and shows in museums become bridges in time to guide us as a society and mitigate the lurches that life gives us. And in this league to awaken consciences even the climate crisis can suddenly be an ally: the drought in the United States is causing the corpses of victims of mafia settlements to emerge in Lake Mead, in Las Vegas, yet to be identified. Nothing is hidden forever.

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