Presentation award for ROOTS PhD students by the International Society for Hunter-Gatherer Research

Presentation award for ROOTS PhD students
Morgan Windle (left) and Tanja Schreiber during the 2021 expedition at the camp of the Sel'kup partners at the Taz, Western Siberia. Foto: Oleg Kruglov / EtnoArcheoCentr

Tanja Schreiber and Morgan Windle honored for ethnoarchaeological research on knowledge transmission among Siberian reindeer herders.

Archaeological excavations classically provide information about material culture in the past. But what impact can they have on knowledge exchange and social learning within a present-day hunter-herder community in the Siberian taiga? This question is being investigated by Morgan Windle and Tanja Schreiber, PhD students in the ROOTS Cluster of Excellence at Kiel University. For their presentation “Collaborative Archaeology and the Reciprocity of Knowledge Transmission within a Sel’kup Community in Western Siberia” at the 13th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS13) in Dublin on 29 June, they received the prize for the best student presentation by the International Society for Hunter-Gatherer Research.
In 2021, both researchers had participated in an expedition of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS to the Sel’kup people, an Indigenous ethnic group in Western Siberia. As part of a wider ethnoarchaeological research programme, the team had excavated the remains of a traditional winter house of the semi-nomadic people dating to the beginning of the 20th century.
Both adult Sel’kup and their children from the nearby nomadic summer camp had participated in the excavations and had taught the scientists traditional knowledge and skills. At the same time, a transfer of knowledge took place from the adult Sel’kup to their children.
The two PhD students are using the example of the excavations to investigate this kind of knowledge transfer between heritage professionals and local community members as well as between generations. They explore whether this active involvement with the past strengthens the younger generation's awareness of their own background and the value of their traditional knowledge and cultural traditions. At the CHAGS13 conference they presented their observations during their stay with the Sel’kup people.
“We are very happy about this award. It is a great confirmation of our work so far”, says Tanja Schreiber. Morgan Windle adds: “We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the scientific committee of the conference and the prize selection panel, and finally the entire CHAGS13 organization team.” 
The work of Tanja Schreiber and Morgan Windle contributes to one of the six main research areas of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS, which addresses the questions of what kind of knowledge is produced and passed on, in what way, where and when in human history.
The 2021 expedition was part of an ongoing project in the Dietary ROOTS subcluster, headed by the supervisor of the two students, Prof. Henny Piezonka, in collaboration with the Russian archaeologists Aleksandr Kenig, Khanty-Mansiysk, and Dr. Andrei Novikov, Novosibirsk, as well as the Indigenous Sel’kup partners.
The CHAGS conferences have been established in 1966 as the largest and most prominent international forum for trans-disciplinary exchange on hunting and gathering societies. At CHAGS13 in Dublin, more than 300 experts and Indigenous stakeholders from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, and NGOs participated.


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions