Robert L. Kelly, a University of Wyoming professor of anthropology, recognized internationally as a leading researcher in anthropology, has been selected to receive an Alexander von Humboldt Research Foundation Award.

The award, which promotes international cultural dialogue and academic exchange, recognizes academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have had a significant impact on their own disciplines, and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future. The Humboldt Award recognizes Kelly’s achievements to date.

Kelly received notice of his award, which totals 60,000 Euros, at the end of the 2017 spring semester. The Humboldt Award is based on a nomination from German colleagues, and recognizes Kelly for a lifetime of research and accomplishment. 

He plans to spend the 2018 spring semester at the University of Tubingen in Germany, where he will work with some archaeological colleagues there on a new research issue.

“This award will give me the opportunity to investigate a new area of research -- the origins of the human capacity for culture -- with colleagues in Germany who have expertise in that particular aspect of human evolution,” Kelly says. “Importantly, this sort of international cooperation also opens up opportunities for our students. For example, this will be an opportunity to participate in European research projects. My time in Germany also will give me the opportunity to start work on a follow-up to my recent book, ‘The Fifth Beginning,’ aimed at the general public.”

Kelly first became involved in archaeology in 1973 when, as a high school student, he participated in the excavation of Gatecliff Rockshelter in central Nevada with David Hurst Thomas of the American Museum of Natural History. He continued to work in Nevada for more than a decade, eventually conducting his doctoral research there. Kelly received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1978; his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico in 1980; and his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1985, all in anthropology. 

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