ABSTRACT

The Gibraltar Skull, also known as Gibraltar 1 and the Forbes' Quarry skull, is Gibraltar's most famous fossil and has played an important role in our understanding of human evolution. In 1848 the skull was presented to the Gibraltar Scientific Society by its twenty-three-year-old Secretary, Lieutenant Edmund Henry Réné Flint; the receipt being recorded by a single line in its Minute Book. That record is the only known mention of the skull until its arrival in London in July 1864. The Society became the custodian of the skull from its presentation in 1848, to the Society's demise in 1853. Although the Society is mentioned in the majority of accounts of the discovery of the Gibraltar Skull, even if only to note that the skull was presented to the Society and that it was then subsequently stored away, almost no information about the Society exists in the published literature. The only surviving records of the Society's history are its Minute Book, several entries in one of the Minute Books of the Gibraltar Garrison Library, and The Gibraltar Chronicle and Commercial Intelligencer. This paper provides, for the first time, a history of the Society based on analysis of these sources, and from this assesses the curatorial and management approaches to its collection.

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