Monrepos is an archaeological research centre and a museum for the human behavioural evolution located at Schloss Monrepos in Neuwied. On the one hand, the development of our modern human behaviour in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic is studied at the research centre and on the other hand, the findings of these studies are conveyed to the public in the museum. Monrepos is one of the leading institutions for the research of early human history.
Monrepos is part of the Romano-Germanic Central Museum (Mainz) a member of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community. Another provider for Monrepos is the Prinz Maximilian zu Wied-Stiftung, supported by the Förderkreis Altsteinzeit e.V., which assists with research, teaching and the conveying of research results. Monrepos collaborates closely with the Institute for Prehistoric Archaeology of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. Until 2012, Monrepos had been named "research unit Palaeolithic“ (Forschungsbereich Altsteinzeit) of the RGZM and "museum for Ice Age archaeology“ (Museum für die Archäologie des Eiszeitalters). The discovery and study of famous Palaeolithic sites in the Neuwied Basin such as Niederbieber, Gönnersdorf, and Bad Breisig led to the foundation of the research unit Palaeolithic of the RGZM in 1984. Along with the museum for Ice Age archaeology the research unit has been located on Schloss Monrepos since 1988. The house was built in 1909. It was originally named "Waldheim" (forest home) and served as home for the princely widows. In 1986, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Wied brought the Schloss into the foundation Prince Maximilian of Wied. Besides functioning as the head of the Forschungsbereich Altsteinzeit, Gerhard Bosinski, the founder of the institute, was also professor at the institute of prehistoric archaeology of the University of Cologne. Since 2003 Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser has been the head of Monrepos and she is also the professor at the institute of prehistory and early history of the University of Mainz. 2005 the exhibition of the museum for Ice Age archaeology was modernised but in 2011 the museum had to be closed temporary due to extensive renovation and reconstruction works of Schloss Monrepos.
The museum is re-organised currently and will be re-opened with a new concept, probably in late 2013. The research and the conveying of its results aim at understanding the essential behavioural characteristics of modern humans and the development of these characteristics during the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods from 2.5 Million years to approximately 7,500 years ago. Monrepos is among the few archaeological research institutions which are guided by an own principle of research. This principle defines the objectives of research and the strategy necessary to achieve these objectives. The principle of research is based on an integrative, holistic understanding of science. Thereby, it merges the traditional dichotomy of Social and Natural Sciences. Different sources of evidence and variable contexts are connected diachronically in the principle of research. They are pooled in three research units: "time slices“, "strategies”and “social organisation”. "Time slices“ relates to the group of questions of where, when, and in which frame of references human behaviour evolved.
The research units "strategies“ and "social organisation“ try to identify survival strategies and behavioural patterns as well as their social embedding. The research principle is oriented diachronically and perspectively. That means that the research is systematically looking at different time periods and levels of resolution. Large frames allow for an orientation, whereas more detailed frames allow for a punctually high resolution. By the use of a synthetic comparison of the three research units and the comparative transfer between the different time periods and levels of resolution, it is possible to reconstruct the development of human behaviour in the Palaeolithic and Mesolihic.