Jose Migel Barandiaran

Basque: Jose Miguel Barandiaran Aierbe, Spanish: José Miguel de Barandiarán y Ayerbe known as on Joxemiel Barandiaran and Aita Barandiaran, 'Father Barandiaran' (31 December 1889 – 21 December 1991), was a Basque anthropologist, ethnographer, and priest.[1]

Jose Miguel Barandiaran
Joxe miel barandiaran.jpg
Born(1889-12-31)31 December 1889
Died21 December 1991(1991-12-21) (aged 101)
Ataun, Basque Country, Spain
Other namesOn Joxemiel
Aita Barandiaran
OccupationAnthropologist, ethnographer, priest

Early lifeEdit

He was born in 1889 as the youngest of nine children to Francisco Antonio Barandiaran and María Antonia Ayerbe in the family baserri Perune-Zarre in Ataun. Encouraged by his mother, he entered the priesthood aged 14 in Baliarrain and was ordained as a priest in 1914 in Burgos. Ordained a priest in 1914, the following year he obtained a degree in Theology. In 1916 he joined the Faculty of Philosophy of the Vitoria Seminary as a science professor, teaching the subjects of Physics and Chemistry, Geology, Human Paleontology, Prehistory and History of Religions. He lasted for twenty years as a professor, simultaneously exercising managerial positions such as that of vice-rector.

Career as an ethnographerEdit

Soon after being ordained as a priest, he took up ethnographic studies of Basque culture and archeology around 1916 in the Aralar Mountains. He carried out invaluable research into folk traditions and collecting accounts and tales related to Basque mythology. His contribution to the paleontological study of the Basque people. Magismo, which presented in Bilbao in 1919, strongly interested the great ethnologist Wilhelm Schmidt, founder of the magazine Anthropos in Vienna. This offered him the position of correspondent for Spain and invited him to participate in the International Week of Religious Ethnology that was going to be celebrated in the Dutch town of Tilburg in 1922. There he delivered his communication French: La religion des anciens basques, lit.'The Religion of ancient Basques'. When the Spanish Civil War began, he had to go into exile in September 1936, considered a suspect simply because of his dedication to Basque culture.[2] In 1953 he returned from exile and opened at the University of Salamanca, at the request of its rector, Don Antonio Tovar, the Larramendi Chair with a course on the current state of Basque studies. The following year, within the Aranzadi Science Society, he created the Ethnology Seminar and, after twenty years of interruption, in 1955, published volume XV of the Eusko Folklore Yearbook, with studies on pastoral and agricultural life followed by others dedicated to popular industries and crafts.[3]


In 1989, he received the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports Ministry of Education, Spanish Culture and Sports.[4]


Its complete collection consists of 211 numbers and is the most important and irreplaceable corpus of data reflecting the mental universe of traditional Basque populations during the past 20th century. With these data faithfully and rigorously collected, he published his works and articles on Basque mythology.

  • Basque paleontography (1921)
  • Basque mythology (1924)
  • Primitive man in the Basque Country (1934)
  • Anthropology of the Basque population (1947)
  • Basque culture (1977)
  • General history of the Basque Country (1980)
  • Witchcraft and witches (1984)
  • Myths of the Basque people (1989)
  • Mythology of the Basque people (1994)
The Barandiaran memorial at the Santimamiñe cave.


  1. ^ Agirre, Joxean (December 22, 2011). "Joxe Migel Barandiaran: Desagertzeko zorian zegoen kultura baten aztarnak bilduz hartu zituen ehun urteak" (in Basque). Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  2. ^ "José Miguel de Barandiaran and his ethnographic work". Deia. Deia. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Barandiaran Ayerbe, José Miguel de". Royal Academy of the Basque Language. Auñamendi. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Medal of Merit in Fine Arts, in its Gold category" (PDF). Royal Decree. BOE. Retrieved 13 June 2020.