EAA STUDENT AWARD 2022
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.
Chair of the European Association of Archaeologists’ Student Award Committee