Johanna Mestorf Award presented for the first time


The classical archaeologist, Sabine Neumann, and the anthropologist, Katherine Mary Grillo, are the first winners of the Johanna Mestorf Award.

Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Education and Science, Waltraud Wende, and the winners, Sabine Neumann and Katherine Grillo (left to right), are pleased about the presentation of the Johanna Mestorf Award. Professor Joahnnes Müller, Speaker of the Graduate School, also congratulates the winners.

For the first time, the Johanna Mestorf Award for outstanding dissertations in the fields of socio-environmental research and landscape archaeology was presented in Kiel. On Thursday, April 18 the prize was awarded by the Johanna Mestorf Academy and the Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes of Kiel University. The classical archaeologist, Sabine Neumann, and the anthropologist, Katherine Mary Grillo, share the prize money totaling € 3,000.

Prof. Dr. Waltraud ‘Wara’ Wende, Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Education and Science, honored the award winners in conjunction with the Graduate School workshop “Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes”. In front of an audience of several hundred researchers from around the world, Wende praised the high quality of the winning dissertations. Sabine Neumann received her Ph.D. from the University of Munich with her dissertation on the artificial grottos of the Acropolis of Rhodes, whereas Katherine Grillo obtained her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis (USA) with her thesis on ethno-archaeological aspects of mobile livestock in Kenia.

During the award ceremony Wende emphasized that a dissertation does not primarily serve the purpose of acquiring an academic title and thereby increasing one’s own personal reputation, but it rather serves the function of furthering scientific work and research. “Not only recent public discussions in connection with the doctoral degrees of some politicians have shown that we have to do more to assure for the quality of doctoral programs in Germany”, remarked the minister. Furthermore, she acknowledged the Johanna Mestorf Award as an honor with great symbolic significance. According to Wende, it stands for excellent international, interdisciplinary research on relevant social and environmental topics concerning prehistoric and historic societies and landscapes.

The Johanna Mestorf Award is named after the first female professor of Prussia. Johanna Mestorf (1828-1909) had considerable influence on archaeological research. Beginning in 1868 she worked at the Museum of National Antiquities (Museum vaterländischer Alterthümer) in Kiel.

Text and Photo: Jirka Niklas Menke; Translation: Eileen Kücükkaraca