Professor Peeter Tulviste Memorial Fund scholarship is awarded to Mari Tõrv — Tartu Ülikooli Sihtasutus

The chair of the evaluation committee Jaan Tulviste said that Mari Tõrva's research gives us a better understanding of the cultural nature of human beings, both past and present. By combining different scientific disciplines and research methods from the humanities and natural sciences, Mari has broadened our knowledge of people's habits and practices in the past, including their diet, health, diseases and funeral rites. Her research also offers new insights into human identity and allows us to better grasp and make sense of the cultural perspectives on death.

For Mari Tõrv, receiving the Professor Peeter Tulviste scholarship is a great recognition. "The scholarship proves that understanding cultural heritage is important in today's crisis-torn world, because it is the basis of our common identity," Mari said. With the support of the award, she plans to develop a framework for the study of the culture of death in the past, combining anthropological theories and traditional archaeological approaches with innovative biomolecular archaeological methods.

In 2016, Mari defended her doctoral degree in archaeology at the University of Tartu and the Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel under a joint supervision agreement. In 2017, she began leading the newly-established Collegium for Transdisciplinary Studies in Archaeology, Genetics and Linguistics of the University of Tartu. Currently, she is working as a researcher and associate professor, contributing to the appreciation of local heritage and the creation of Estonian identity by reconstructing the stories of people who lived centuries and thousands of years ago.

Tõrv has put a lot of emphasis on preserving cultural diversity in her research. Together with her colleagues, she has created an infrastructure for the digital preservation of archaeological heritage and led the development of digital literacy in the field of archaeology. Tõrv is a founding member of the Estonian Association of Archaeologists, established in 2022. She is also the founder of the website, which brings together recent research on the cultural, linguistic and genetic evolution of the hunter-gatherers who arrived in Estonia into the digital nation of the 21st century. In order to address today's complex societal and scientific challenges in the field of cultural heritage, Tõrv has collaborated with researchers from a wide range of disciplines and helped to better integrate the humanities and natural sciences.

The Professor Peeter Tulviste Memorial Fund was established in autumn 2017 by the University of Tartu, Tarty City Government, Tartu Rotary Club, the Union of Estonian Psychologists and the University of Tartu Foundation. The aim of the memorial fund is to support and recognise socially active doctoral students and young researchers who contribute to the advancement of Estonian society through their outstanding teaching and research.

Photographer Andres Tennus

Further information:

Linda Sootak  

Communication Specialist, University of Tartu Foundation