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Prof. Dr. Jan H. Bemmann

Principal Investigator

Jan Bemmann

University of Bonn
Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
Department for Prehistory and Early Historical Archaeology
Brühler Straße 7
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 7325



Current Position

Professor of Prehistory and Early Historical Archaeology
Director of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology


As a specialist in the archaeology of the Mongol Empire (1206–1368), Jan Bemmann focuses on the analysis of multi-faceted dependencies in this quickly-expanding and enormous state. The political and economic success of the Mongol World Empire highly depends on the exploitation and deportation of specialists out of the conquered regions into Inner Asia. Advisors, literati, bureaucrats, artists, astronomers and the like are gathered at the court(s), artisans, architects and farmers specialized in irrigation are settled in newly-founded cities, builders of war machines, engineers and parts of defeated armies are integrated into one of the most successful armies in the Old World. Jan Bemmann compares the strategy of moving people and knowledge in the Mongol Empire with similar practices in earlier Inner Asian steppe empires.

5 books, 12 edited volumes, and approximately 90 articles. Approximately 100 national and international lectures, 10 completed and 19 ongoing dissertations, 43 completed and 2 ongoings Magister/Master theses, all as supervisor.


  • 2000                   Habilitation in Pre- and Early Historical Archaeology, University of Jena, Germany
  • 1989                   Ph.D. in Pre- and Early Historical Archaeology, University of Kiel, Germany
  • 1981–1989         M.A. in Pre- and Early Historical Archaeology, Medieval and Modern History,
                               Soil Science at the Universities of Kiel, Saarbrücken and Munich, Germany

Academic Positions

  • 2005–present     Professor of Prehistory and Early Historical Archaeology, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 1994–2004         Research Associate, University of Jena, Germany
  • 1990                   West Coast Center for Research and Technology


  • 2010                   Professor, University of Vienna, Austria
  • 2004                   Professor, University of Munich, Germany

Scholarships and Awards

  • 10/2015              Visiting Research Fellow, Jilin University, China
  • 2014–2015         Visiting Research Scholar, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University, USA
  • 2012                   Khubilai Khan Medal, Mongolian Academy of Science
  • 2010                   Honorary doctorate, Mongolian Academy of Science
  • 1990–1993         Post-Doc Fellowship of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • 1989–1990         Fellowship of the German Archaeological Institute
  • 1986–1988         PhD Scholarship of Friedrich Naumann Foundation

Participation in Centers and Collaborative Projects

  • Head of the Mongolian-German-Karakorum-Expedition (since 2005)
  • Spokesperson of the BMBF collaborative project "Geoarchaeology in the Steppe – Reconstruction of Cultural Landscapes in the Orchon Valley, Central Mongolia" (2008–2011)
  • Spokesperson and coordinator of the Collaborative Research Project "The Rhine as a European Transport Axis – Markets and Transport of Resources and Goods in the Context of the Rhine Ports of the 1st century AD"
  • Member of the DFG Research Training Group (GRK 1878) "Archeology of Pre-Modern Economies"
  • Member in the German-French Graduate School of the Franco-German University (Bonn–Strassburg–Berne–Brussels–Luxembourg–Liège) "Foule et Intégration dans les Sociétés Antiques"/"Mass und Integration in Ancient Societies"

Third-Party Funding

  • DFG (Cluster 1187, Graduate Program 1878, SPP 1630, individual projects)
  • BMBF
  • Foundation for the Promotion of Archaeology in the Rhenish Lignite mining area
  • Gerda Henkel Foundation
  • Fritz Thyssen Foundation
  • DAAD

Total sum of 6 million €.

Selected Publications

  • With M. Schmauder (eds.): Complexity of Interaction along the Eurasian Steppe Zone in the First Millennium AD. Bonn 2015.
  • Mitteldeutschland und das Gallische Sonderreich 260-274 – Eine liebgewonnene These auf dem Prüfstand. [Central Germany and the Gallic Empire 260-274. A Popular Thesis on Trial]. In: Kölner Jahrbuch für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, 47 (2014), 179-213.
  • With E. Lehndorff, R. Klinger, S. Linzen, L. Munkhbayar, M. Oczipka, H. Piezonka, S. Reichert: Biomarkers in Archaeology – Land Use around the Uyghur Capital Karabalgasun, Orkhon Valley, Mongolia. In: Prähistorische Zeitschrift 89/2 (2014), 337-370.
  • Kurt Tackenberg und die Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie an der Universität Bonn. Die Jahre 1937-1945. [Kurt Tackenberg and Prehistorical Archaeology at the University of Bonn. The Years 1937-1945]. In: J. Kunow, T. Otten, J. Bemmann (eds.): Archäologie und Bodendenkmalpflege in der Rheinprovinz 1920-1945. [Archaeology and Heritage Protection/Conservation in the Rhine Province 1920-1945]. Bonn 2013, 353-385.
  • Steppenkrieger – Reiternomaden des 7.-14. Jahrhunderts aus der Mongolei. [Steppe Warriors – Nomads on Horseback, 7th to14th Century Mongolia]. Darmstadt 2012.
  • With Th. O. Höllmann, B. Ahrens, Th. Kaiser, Sh. Müller: A Stone Quarry in the Hinterland of Karakorum, Mongolia, with Evidence of Chinese Stonemasons. In: Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology 6 (2011/2015) 101-136; 227-231.
  • Was the Center of the Xiongnu Empire in the Orkhon Valley? In: U. Brosseder, B. K. Miller (eds.): Xiongnu Archaeology – Multidisciplinary Perspectives of the First Steppe Empire in Inner Asia. Bonn 2011, 441-461.
  • With U. Erdenebat, E. Pohl (eds.): Mongolian-German Karakorum-Expedition Vol. 1: Excavations in the Craftsmen-Quarter at the Main Road. Wiesbaden 2010.
  • Mitteldeutschland im 5. und 6. Jahrhundert. Was ist und ab wann gibt es archäologisch betrachtet typisch Thüringisches? Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme. [Central Germany in the 5th and 6th Century. What and When Can We Archaeologically Determine Something as Typically Thuringian? A Critical Inventory]. In: H. Castritiu, D. Geunlich, M. Werner (eds.): Die Frühzeit der Thüringer. Archäologie, Sprache, Geschichte. [The Early Period of the Thuringians. Archaeology, Language, History]. Berlin, New York 2009, 63-81.
  • With H. Parzinger, E. Pohl, D. Tseveendorzh (eds.): Current Archaeological Research in Mongolia. Papers from the First International Conference on "Archaeological Research in Mongolia“, held in Ulaanbaatar, August 19th-24th. Bonn 2007.
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