Gutenberg Research Award for Wil Roebroeks

Most prestigious research award of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz goes to Dutch archaeologist

21 February 2022

The Dutch archaeologist Professor Wil Roebroeks receives the 2021 Gutenberg Research Award of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The Gutenberg Research Award is the most eminent research prize awarded by the university. It comes with an endowment of EUR 10,000 and is conferred annually by the Gutenberg Research College (GRC), the university's central strategic instrument to promote cutting-edge research at JGU. "By granting Wil Roebroeks the 2021 Gutenberg Research Award, we are honoring his extraordinary contributions to paleoanthropology through his field research, his interdisciplinary approach, and his devotion to international collaboration," said Professor Siegfried Waldvogel, Director of the GRC. "We are pleased that he will be accepting the award here in person on May 23rd, 2022, and intends to remain in Mainz to take part in several events." Wil Roebroeks is Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology at Leiden University. His research focus is on Neanderthals and other (earlier) Eurasian hominins. Among other things, he investigates how these primeval humans used fire, managed to subsist, produced stone tools, and even changed the environment around them. For this he employs data that he has collected during extensive excavations in countries such as the Netherlands, France, Russia, Germany, and the UK.

Events planned in Mainz

"Wil Roebroeks is one the world's leading researchers in his field. Through his work, he has been able to provide fundamental insights into the earliest human settlement of Europe and Asia," emphasized Professor Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser of the JGU Department of Ancient Studies, who nominated Roebroeks for the Gutenberg Research Award. "Moreover, he is actively involved in promoting the research community in any number of ways." From 2011 to 2021, Roebroeks was Vice-President of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (ESHE) and a member of the advisory boards of various specialist journals and research institutions, including the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM) in Mainz and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). He holds a number of honors, including the Spinoza Prize – the most distinguished academic award of the Netherlands – and the Humboldt Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation that is given to outstanding international researchers. "Wil Roebroeks is both a very amiable and amusing individual whose stay in Mainz will certainly prove to be an asset," added Gaudzinski-Windheuser. Among the planned events are a public lecture by Roebroeks on May 24th at the RGZM and a workshop with him on May 25th at the MONREPOS Archaeological Research Center and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution in Neuwied.