Photo: György Gábos

The European Association of Archaeologists awards the 2022 Student Award to

Paloma Cuello del Pozo

for her paper

Who, why, and when? Peopling of the Canary Islands and the challenges of archaeometry

Archaeology is uniquely interdisciplinary, spanning the arts and sciences in equal measure. Scientific analysis plays an important role in our research, but the results of archaeometric studies can only be understood within the complex framework of human society, historical process, and taphonomy. In her paper “Who, why, and when? Peopling of the Canary Islands and the challenges of archaeometry”, Paloma Cuello del Pozo examines the affordances of various archaeometric datasets to elucidate the initial occupation of the Canary Islands. Cuello del Pozo presents a critical review of the research, both historical and scientific, regarding the initial migration of people into the Canaries. She grounds this research in nissology—the study of islands on their own terms—and uses interpretative tools drawn from socio-biogeography to frame her re-evaluation of proposed settlement models and the variety of new scientific data, from DNA to dates, brought to bear on them. She explores how these different data have been applied to argue variably for a Mediterranean or an African origin for the archipelago’s original inhabitants, and highlights where different types of analysis tell the same story of migration or contradict each other. Her critique makes clear that simply adding more data and more scientific approaches will not suffice to answer questions about complex human behaviours, such as migration and early island colonization. Cuello del Pozo concludes with a reflection on the proposed ‘third science revolution’ which has been much debated in archaeology in recent years. While she enthusiastically embraces archaeometric analysis, she reminds us that our scientific data are only as valid as the methods used to collect and record analysed samples and the humanist models that allow us to interpret them in light of complicated past worlds. We congratulate Paloma Cuello del Pozo and look forward to the publication of her paper.

Frieman Chair of the European Association of Archaeologists’ Student Award Committee