2 million years MIGRATION

May 13th until November 5th, 2017

Since 2009, a team of seventy researchers in the University of Cologne’s Collaborative Research Centre 806 “Our Way to Europe” has been conducting research on the migration of anatomically modern humans from Africa to Europe. Collaborative Research Centres are long-term, university-based research institutions which are funded for up to 12 years by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Experts from different fields come together within a multidisciplinary research program. The exhibition was inspired by the current political situation and is intended to bridge the temporal gap between the ice age and today. An important aim is to create awareness for how archeology can help us grasp contemporary societal challenges.

By drawing attention to the earliest history of human development, the organizers would like to show that migration has always been an integral part of human existence – it is not a contemporary phenomenon. The exhibition illustrates the exodus of Homo erectus and later anatomically modern humans from Africa to Asia and Europe, as well as the Neolithization of Europe, which was tied to the settlement of modern humans from the Near East.

Using selected artefacts, media productions and emotional encounters with our own history, the exhibition hopes to convey the reasons, mechanisms and ramifications of the phenomenon migration – of which we are all a part.

The exhibition is being funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In this cooperation between the Neanderthal Museum, Collaborative Research Center 806 “Our Way to Europe” and other cooperation partners, the involved experts in paleogenetics, archaeology, anthropology and modern migration research want to present migration as a natural element of human existence. Moreover, Hannelore Kraft, the prime minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has agreed to serve as the exhibition’s patron. The exhibition is conceived as a touring exhibition and will be displayed at other museums in Germany.