We are joining two main congresses TAPHOS  and the Taphonomy Working Group (TWG) of the ICAZ in the same2020 meeting to be held together in order to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Efremov’s Taphonomy proposal as scientific discipline. Given Efremov’s ingenious (as Cervantes!) facet of a Science Fiction writer, this join congress celebration is also surnamed: “SCIENCE FICTION OF TAPHONOMY”. The congress will take place in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid, Spain),  between Sunday 30th August and Sunday 6th September 2020,in the facilities of the Museo Arqueológico Regional de Madrid.

TAPHOS counts with a large participation of specialists in vertebrate and invertebrate  taphonomy, ICAZ and the Taphonomy Working Group are devoted to Quaternary taphonomic research with especial focus on sites with human involvement. We are proposing for this special celebration to join the 6th TWG-ICAZ and the 9th TAPHOS to bring together palaeontologists, archaeologists, biologists and, very especially, zooarchaeologists that have not been assiduously attending TAPHOS in the last years. We want to have other researchers interested in all aspects of taphonomy i.e. forensic scholars, palaeocology/palaeoclimate/histology expertise, and geologists involved in the site formation to join us to celebrate this event.

TAPHOS’20 celebrates the 30th anniversary of Taphonomy and Fossilization (TaFos), the first edition presented at the CSIC (Madrid) in 1990, devised by S. Fernández López. During the first Taphos, the masterpiece Owls, Caves and Fossils by P. Andrews was presented and since then this book is reference bibliography for small mammal taphonomy. TAPHOS’20 will pay then a special tribute to Sixto Fernández López, founder of these congresses and for his invaluable contribution to the theory of Taphonomy, and Peter Andrews for his innovative work on  small mammal taphonomic methodology and palaeoenvironmental interpretations.


As previous Taphonomy and Fossilization meetings have been held in Madrid 1990, Zaragoza 1995, Valencia 2002, Barcelona 2005, Granada 2008, Tübingen 2011, Ferrara 2014 and Viena 2017, the return of TAPHOS to Madrid is especially relevant event to the Spanish Taphonomists.

The Taphonomy Working Group (https://taphonomyworkinggroup.wordpress.com/twg/) is one of the recognised ICAZ Working Groups and this year will be held its 6th meeting, after those celebrated in Paris, France (2010), Santander, Spain (2012), San Lorenzo, Argentina (2014), Paris (2016), Ankara, Turkey (2018). All of them regularly published in international journals.

A.K. Behrensmeyer

The sessions will be organized by “TaphoSystems*” a terminology proposed by Sixto Fernández López that will facilitate the connection between different experts from different backgrounds. These sessions will also consider an aspect that caused the origin of Taphonomy for Efremov and is a main research of P.Andrews: Palaeoecology and Palaeoclimate PLUS Experimental Taphonomy and other Environments that may have the participation of all specialist that may or may not be included in previous sessions.

We are honoured to have the participation of A.K.Behrensmeyer that will give the opening conference of this special celebration.
  • Karstic Taphosystem
  • Lacustrine Taphosystem
  • Fluvial Taphosystem
  • Marine Taphosystem
  • Open air Taphosystem
  • Taphonomy in Palaeoecology and Palaeoclimate interpretations
  • Experimental Taphonomy and other Environments