Students at the University of Chester will be carrying out research into the landscapes which formed the backdrop to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with support from Abbey, Banco Santander’s UK subsidiary.
A cohort of second-year Geography undergraduates is looking forward to travelling to Almeria in Southern Spain in May, to conduct fieldwork research into the area’s arid landscape.
The region’s badlands provide the most desert-like conditions in Western Europe, and are notoriously difficult to cross on foot. Its landscapes are familiar from film and television, having been used for the shooting of a number of spaghetti westerns and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
The trip is being funded with support from Banco Santander through its Santander Universities scheme, which has co-operative agreements with more than 700 universities in Spain, Latin America, Portugal, Morocco, China, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Under the partnership, funding is provided to students to undertake research in these countries. Since 1996, Santander Universities has channelled almost €500 million into academia.
During their 10-day trip, the students will be accompanied by Professor Roy Alexander, who has spent around three decades studying badlands. They will be carrying out studies of biological soil crusts, environmental hazards and landslide risks, as well as looking at the landscape, geology and human impact on the terrain.
Professor Alexander said: “The field trip allows the students to learn first-hand about semi-arid environments and their biological and landscape processes. The terrain is the most extreme environment they could encounter in Western Europe, and provides a complete contrast to their fieldwork in the UK.
“It is fantastic to receive support from Santander Universities. They have helped make the field trip available to all students, which is great for their overall learning experience.”
Luis Juste, Director UK & Portugal, Santander Universities, added: “We are proud to support this study from the University of Chester. It will not only allow students to carry out their research on location, but will also help us to understand better the environmental threats of desertification.”