Human Roots Award

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The Human Roots Award is an international archaeology prize. It was founded in 2017 and is awarded annually by the Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution MONREPOS, a facility of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum (RGZM), Leibniz Research Institute for Archaeology at Monrepos Castle near Neuwied.

The prize replaces the Rudolf Virchow Lecture, which was awarded annually between 1987 and 2016 to renowned researchers in ancient and Mesolithic archaeology in German-speaking countries, and honours archaeologists or scientists from neighbouring disciplines for achievements that have had an extraordinary influence on the understanding of human behavioural evolution. In this way, the Human Roots Award differs significantly from the previous archaeology prizes awarded at Schloss Monrepos, as well as from other archaeology prizes, because it builds a bridge between archaeology and its neighbouring disciplines and thus brings the importance of interdisciplinary science to the fore.

The goal of the Human Roots Award is to “promote interdisciplinary scientific dialogue and create public awareness of the relevance of findings from the study of human origins for the future of humankind.”

The prize is endowed with 10,000 euros, and since 2018 the prize money has been borne by the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] The founding benefactor of the prize money is Max Otte.[2] Until his death in June 2018, Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, student of Nobel laureate Konrad Lorenz and founder of human ethology, was patron of the Human Roots Award. In July 2018, the first laureate Richard Dawkins took over the patronage.


  • 2017: Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author[10]
  • 2018: Steven Pinker, psychologist and cognitive scientist[11]
  • 2019: Robin Dunbar, evolutionary psychologist[12]

Individual references

  1. dpa, New archaeology prize awarded to evolutionary biologist Dawkins, World/dpa news channel, as of 6 November 2017
  2. a b “Human Roots Award” presented to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  3. Evolutionary biologist awarded archaeology prize.In: RichardDawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. 8 November 2017, accessed 20 August 2018.
  4. New award: British ethnologist Richard Dawkins receives the “Human Roots Award”.( [accessed 16 August 2018]).
  5. Ebru Esmen Evolutionary biologist honored with archaeology award. Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM) – Leibniz Research Institute for Archaeology, press release, 2 November 2017, at Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (, accessed 16 August 2018.
  6. All events – Archaeological Research Centre and Museum of Human Behavioural Evolution.Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  7. Regine Siedlaczek: “Human Roots Award” presented. In: Rhein-Zeitung. No. 262, 13 November 2017, p. 20.
  8. Monrepos awards new archaeology prize. In: Rhein-Zeitung. 7.November 2017.
  9. Romano-Germanic Central Museum, Leibniz Research Institute for Archaeology:Human Roots Award.Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  10. “Human Roots Award” presented to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  11. Ebru Esmen Evolutionary psychologist awarded archaeology prize. MONREPOS, press release, October 2, 2018, at Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (, accessed October 20, 2018.
  12. Christina Nitzsche MONREPOS Archaeological Research Center honors evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar with international research award. Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM) – Leibniz Research Institute for Archaeology, press release, 31 July 2019, at Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (, accessed 31 July 2019.

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