They appear proud and happy, and excited as schoolboys as they sit opposite Professor Bosinski, describing their visionary proposal: Here, in the misty forests of Monrepos overlooking the Rhine Valley, they must establish a wholly new type of research museum, a house with global standing dedicated to no less than rethinking the history of humanity and laying a foundation for the “Information Society” of the coming millennium!
The plan was thought up by Dr. Hans-Georg Jungblut and Minister Johann Wilhelm Gaddum, later vice president of the Deutsche Bundesbank, who were inspired by a long walk through the rain-soaked Monrepos woodlands. It was 1983, the year in which the metre was redefined and the first black hole was discovered. 15 years earlier, here in Neuwied, the site of Gönnersdorf had been discovered and had since been at the centre of much activity – particularly in the aforementioned hunting lodge which the archaeologists had made their base camp.
The 5th July 1984 saw the birth of the „Förderkreis der Forschungsstelle Altsteinzeit e.V.“, the 20th June 1986 the founding of the Prinz Maximilian zu Wied-Foundation. From the beginning, the internationally respected Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz provided structure and guaranteed growth into an internationally significant research location. And what now? Sometimes everything comes together at the right time: Friedrich Wilhelm Fürst zu Wied, one of the most energetic backers of MONREPOS, provided the Foundation with an ideal location for the accommodation of its research museum: Schloss Monrepos.
Away from the mainstream of large towns, but located at the edge of the Rhine Valley, at the heart of the archaeology of early humans.
On the 29th April 1988 the newly founded Palaeolithic Research Department of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum and Museum for Ice Age Archeology took up residence in Schloss Monrepos.
Whereas until the end of the 1980s research focused on the world renowned sites of the Neuwied Basin, MONREPOS has subsequently been involved - since 2003 under the direction of Prof. Dr. Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser – in cooperative research projects across the world. Among them are Dmanisi (Georgia), ´Ubeidiya and Gesher Benot Ya´aqov (Israel), Solutré (France), Taforalt (Morocco) and Willendorf (Austria).
These also provide an important foundation for the university teaching curriculum and integrate upcoming generations of students into the international research networks established at MONREPOS.
MONREPOS was associated in its early stages with the Institute for Pre- and Protohistory at the University of Cologne, and since 2003 with the Pre- and Early Historic Archaeology Division of the Institute for Historic Sciences at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz.
Following a strategic reorientation in 2011, with the development of a specific research orientation and new research emphasis, MONREPOS will continue to play a leading international role for the archaeology of early human history.