María Eugenia Aubet Semmler (1943–2024)

We have received the sad news that Professor Dr. María Eugenia Aubet Semmler passed away on Saturday, 17th of February 2024. She was the long-time director of the Spanish excavations in Tyre, Lebanon, and a leading specialist in the field of Phoenician-Punic studies.

Professor M.E. Aubet, Emeritus Chair of Prehistory at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and esteemed founder of the Laboratory of Archaeology at the same institution, boasted an illustrious career in academia and research. Recognized for outstanding contributions, Prof. Aubet received notable accolades, including the Distinction from the Generalitat of Catalonia for the Promotion of University Research in 2005, the Narcis Monturiol Medal in 2009, and the Medal of Merit in Fine Arts, awarded by the Council of Ministers of Spain in 2019.

As a preeminent authority in Phoenician-Punic studies and Mediterranean Protohistory, Prof. Aubet directed numerous research projects, generously funded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Science, attaining the highest levels of recognition.

Noteworthy excavations conducted under Professor Aubet’s leadership include sites on both extremes of the Mediterranean. The Tartessian settlement and necropolis of Setefilla (Seville) revealed insights into the ancient Tartessian culture and the orientalizing period in the Iberian southwest. The Phoenician settlements of Las Chorreras and, in particular, of Cerro del Villar, both located in Málaga, unearthed evidence of two of the most relevant Phoenician settlements in the western Mediterranean. Finally, the Iron Age necropolis of al-Bass (Tyre, Lebanon) provided valuable information about burial practices during that period. Furthermore, the ongoing excavation of the Acropolis of Tyre (Lebanon), in collaboration in recent years with the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw, aims to uncover the rich past of this influential Phoenician city, considered the mother of many other cities in the Mediterranean.

In addition to the impactful fieldwork, professor Aubet contributed significantly to scholarly literature. Authoring numerous articles and two seminal works, “The Phoenicians and the West: Politics, Colonies and Trade” (2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2008) and “Commerce and Colonization in the Ancient Near East” (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Prof. Aubet stands as a distinguished professor and a revered reference for peers and scholars alike.

May her soul rest in peace.

Francisco J. Núñez Calvo
and the team of the Lebanese-Spanish-Polish
Archaeological Expedition in Tyre (Lebanon)