Disclaimer: the following reports are brief summaries of the original German texts.
The Department for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology at the Institute of Prehistory, Early History and Medieval Archaeology awarded the ROMINA-Förderpreis for ice age research for the first time. This prize is generally awarded for scientific works in the field of ice age archaeology and quaternary ecology. The company Romina Quellen Mineralbrunnen from Reutlingen donates the prize money of 10 000 DM. With this prize, the Tübingen institue and Romina Quellen Mineralbrunnen want to promote ice age research and innovative ideas and discourse in the field especially amongst young and aspiring scientists.
The first winner of this award is Dr. Jacobo Weinstock-Arenovitz of the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart. A jury consisting of five people honored his dissertation "Late Pleistocene Reindeer Populations in Western and Central Europe. An osteometrical study of Rangifer tarandus". The dissertation covers the ecological and economical importance of reindeer in Europe during the time of 130 000 to 10 000 BC. Weinstock-Arenovitz focuses on the herd migrations and the different uses palaeolithic hunters made of the animals.
The ROMINA-Förderpreis for ice age research is awarded to Dr. Sandrine Costamagno for her dissertation, "Stratégies de chasse et fonctions des sites au Magdalénien dans le sud de la France", concluded in 1999. Her work deals with the hunting strategies and the function of certain sites during the Magdalénien. This time period is considered the peak of ice age hunters. Costamagno shows that there was no preference in hunting certain animals, as opposed to what researchers assumed previously.
Prof. Natalie Dawn Munro PhD of the University of Connecticut was awarded the fifth Förderpreis for her work on the use of animal resources at the transitional period from the last cold phase to today's warm phase. Her research on late ice age animal remains from Israeli sites provide important information on the Neolithisation, starting in the region of the Fertile Crescent.
American archaeologist Dr. Britt Marie Starkovich received the 14th annual Förderpreis for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology. Starkovich from the School of Anthropology of the University of Arizona researched more than 21 000 animal bones from the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic in her dissertation „Trends in Subsistence from the Middle Paleolithic through Mesolithic at Klissoura Cave 1 (Peleponnese, Greece)“, reconstructing dietary habits of Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans and how they changed during the transitional period in the Middle Palaeolithic. As a postdoc, Starkovich plans on continuing research on human's adaptations to a changing environment in Greece and other regions of Europe.
The Förderpreis is being financed by EiszeitQuell.
The 15th annual Förderpreis for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology goes to Dr. Katerina Douka of Oxford University. The award is being financed by Romina Mineralbrunnen GmbH.
Douka has specialised in C14-dating. Her dissertation “Investigating the Chronology of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition in Mediterranean Europe by Improved Radiocarbon Dating of Shell Ornaments” relies on the commonly found shell ornaments which are associated with occupation of anatomically modern humans as opposed to Neanderthals. Douka analysed the shells of 14 keysites in Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Italy and France which are important for understanding the migration of modern humans to Europe in the transitional period between the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. Surprisingly, Douka found that the oldest shell ornaments are from France, not the Near East, as could be expected.
Spanish archaeologist Dr. Antonio Rodríguez -Hidalgo of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) in Tarragona received the 18th annual Förderpreis in Tübingen.
He is a known specialist for zooarchaeology, an archaeological discipline focusing on animal remains. In his dissertation, Rodríguez -Hidalgo reconstructed subsistence strategies of early humans from animal remains, dating up to 400 000 BP. The remains were found at the site Sierra de Atapuerca near Burgos in the north of Spain, one of the largest known ice age sites. Rodríguez -Hidalgo 's research shows that early humans such as the homo antecessor were already hunting animals, using strategies not unlike those of Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans.
Dr. Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo is the 2nd consecutive Spanish researcher receiving the award for this work on Sierra de Atapuerca.
Dr. Trine Kellberg Nielsen of the University Aarhus, Denmark, is awarded the Tübinger Förderpreis for her dissertation on „Northern Neanderthals: A systematic assessment of the possibility of a pre-modern human occupation of southern Scandinavia”. She discusses the possibility of Neanderthal occupation of Scandinavia in the warm periods before the last ice age.
This possibility is often debated in Scandinavia, supporters of the idea relying on private collections. Dr. Trine Kellberg Nielsen organised surveys and examined those private collections to find evidence for Neanderthal occupation of Scandinavia during the Eem warm period. She concluded occupation was sporadic at best, providing concrete scientific evidence for a long debated question.
The Tübinger Förderpreis for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology was awarded to Dr. Frido Welker of the University of Kopenhagen. He receives the award for his dissertation “From Bones to Proteomes: Gaining a biological understanding of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition”.
Welker examines the archaeological remains during the transitional period of the Last Neanderthals and the early anatomically modern humans. Welker has developed a new approach to assign a site to one of the hominid species by analysing specific organic molecules contained in the site. With this method, he successfully assigned a Châtelperronien site to Neanderthal use.
The Tübinger Förderpreis for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology this year is awarded to Dr. Flavia Venditti of the Sapienza University in Rome for her dissertation „The recycling phenomenon during the Lower Palaeolithic: the case study of Qesem Cave (Israel)“. Venditti researches the production of small cutting tools from larger, no longer usable tools and their usage around 400,000 years ago.
Venditti was able to show that tools were recycled in Qesem Cave starting 420,000 years ago. The reuse of materials continues up until 200,000 years ago. Tools from "recycled" materials were long regarded as provisionary - Venditti's work shows the importance of these intentionally manufactured smaller tools.