Corinne Hofman

Corinne Hofman, Professor of Caribbean Archaeology at Leiden University, received the 2013 Academy Merian Prize for female researchers. The aim of her research is to tell the story of the colonisation of American continent from the perspective of its indigenous population.

Under her leadership, Leiden’s Caribbean Research Group has become the biggest and most successful in the world in this field. Professor Hofman was also appointed Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden in September 2013.

About the laureate

Corinne Hofman’s research shows that the history of the Caribbean goes back thousands of years before the arrival of Columbus. Without written sources, however, that history can only be reconstructed from archaeological finds. Hofman began excavating sites on the island of Saba in the 1980s, and since then has done field work virtually throughout the entire region. She has been driven by the idea that the Caribbean islands and parts of the mainland were once linked by a network in which people, goods and ideas circulated freely. She works with research groups in other disciplines specialising in isotopes and DNA analysis, network theory, history and ethnography.

In addition to a grant from the NWO Open Competition, Professor Hofman recently received ESF HERA funding and the prestigious ERC Synergy Grant. This will allow her to begin collaborating with three other research groups in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium this autumn on a new, large-scale multidisciplinary study exploring the first cultural encounters between European colonizers and the New World from the perspective of the indigenous population. Hofman’s aim in her research is to raise the historical consciousness and self-awareness of the current population of the Caribbean. She regularly invites schools to visit her excavation sites.