Discovering a Project for the Development of Geotourism in Rural Areas: The Paleontological and Archaeological Interpretation Centre of Tamajón (CIPAT, Guadalajara, Spain)

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The important paleontological and archaeological discoveries made in Tamajón in recent years have enriched the exceptional natural and cultural heritage of this town in the north of the Guadalajara province (central Spain). The extraordinary educational and outreach value of these findings led the PaleoIbérica Research Group to develop a project for the design and creation of the Paleontological and Archaeological Interpretation Centre of Tamajón (CIPAT, acronym in Spanish). In this new space, students and the general public have access to knowledge of the past of the region through three exhibition and didactic areas and the support of a rigorous and engaging infographic. The Paleontological Area allows visitors to explore, through fossils, replicas, models (real and virtual) and dioramas, the diversity of coastal and marine life that inhabited the region during the Late Cretaceous Age. Moreover, the area highlights crocodylomorphs, dinosaurs and fishes (identified through their fossilized tracks), and the remains of plants and invertebrates. The Archaeological Area shows the origin and uses of the building material known as Tamajón Stone by means of rough or carved samples, tools traditionally used in its extraction and carving, and historical photographs. Furthermore, in the Didactic Area, innovative specific educational activities are carried out, facilitating the knowledge and appreciation of the rich natural and cultural heritage of Tamajón. After its recent inauguration (August 2021), the CIPAT is a valuable tool to encourage the practice of positive attitudes toward geoconservation and to promote the sustainable and socioeconomic development of the region through geotourism.
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