The Sierra de Atapuerca sites are 15 km east of Burgos city. They gained scientific and social prominence in 1992, when ancient fossils were unearthed in Sima de los Huesos, and then again two years later with the discovery of 900,000 year-old human remains which defined a new species, Homo antecessor. In 2000, the sites were declared part of the UNESCO World Heritage. On July 26, 1999 the Atapuerca Foundation was constituted by the three co-directors, Juan Luis Arsuaga, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Eudald Carbonell, with a broad commission to promote this recognition and at the same time, support and publicise the Atapuerca Project.
Fossil remains of five different hominid species along with evidence of their presence have been found at the Sierra de Atapuerca sites: Homo sp. (yet to be defined, 1,300,000 years), Homo antecessor (850,000 years), preneanderthalensis (500,000 years), Homo neanderthalensis (50,000 years) and Homo sapiens.
The Atapuerca Research Team (ART) works on the following sites each summer: