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Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Nikolai Grube

Principal Investigator

Nikolai Grube

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn 
Department for the Anthropology of the Americas 
Oxfordstr. 15 
53111 Bonn
Tel.: +49 228 73-7412

Current Position: 

Professor at the Dept. of Ancient American Studies and Ethnology at the Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology, UoB; Deputy Spokesperson for the Research Training Group "Archaeology of Premodern Economies”


1982-1985    M.A. Studies in Ancient American Studies, Ethnology, Indology, University of Hamburg
1985-1988    Doctoral Studies in Ancient American Studies, Ethnology and Ancient Oriental Studies,    
                   University of Hamburg
1999            Habilitation and Venia legendi in Ethnology and Ancient American Studies

Academic Positions

1991-1994   Research Associate and Consultant of the Special Exhibition "The World of the Maya" at the                                         Roemer   and Pelizaeus Museum, Hildesheim
1992-1994   Scholarship of the German Research Foundation for Postdoctoral Qualification (Habilitation)
1995-1998   Lecturer, Institute of Ethnology, UoB
1999-2000   Professor of the “Linda and David Schele Chair on the Art and Writing of Mesoamerica", 
2000         Director of the "Center for the History of Ancient American Art and Civilization" at the University of Texas, Austin
2004-present  Prof. for the Anthropology of the Americas and Cultural Anthropology, UoB

Participation in Centers, Scientific Associations, Collaborative Projects: 

Deputy Spokesperson of the DFG Research Training Group (GRK 1878) “Archaeology of Premodern Economies”; Member of the International Center for Philosophy NRW, Bonn (since 2007); Board member of the BMBF competence network ("Area Studies" in Germany) “Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging” (since 2010)

Additional Academic Activities: 

Co-editor of the magazine “Mexicon. Journal of Mesoamerican Studies” (since 1985); Co-editor of the “Acta Mesoamericana” series (since 1996); Co-editor of the journal “Estudios de Cultura Maya” (since 2008); Co-editor of “The Early Americas” series: History and Culture (since 2010); Scientific advisor for the exhibitions “The Maya” (Hildesheim 1992, Vienna 1993, Mannheim 1993, Cologne 1994); “The Maya: Divine Kings of the Rain Forest” (Rosenheim 2002, Hildesheim 2003); “The Secret of the Royal Cities” (Assen 2016, Speyer 2016, Alicante 2017).


NG focuses on the structure of Mesoamerican societies, pre-Columbian Maya societies in particular. The strongly stratified pre-Hispanic societies of Mesoamerica were characterized by asymmetrical dependencies between different social groups. The power and wealth of the aristocracy were based on the control of land ownership, labor and tribute throughout Mesoamerica.


Honorary Citizen of Guatemala City (2007); "Benedictus Polonius" award of the University of Warsaw (2015); Honorary doctorate of the Instituto Politénico Nacional, Mexico (2016)
Additional Work: 8 additional published anthologies, 110 papers and numerous reviewsApprox. 150 national and international lectures and presentations, 25 completed, 18 ongoing doctorates, 55 Magister, 15 Master and 13 Bachelor theses as supervisor/ first reviewer

External Funding: 

DFG [German Science Foundation] (4 funded projects since 2004); BMBF [Ministry for Science and Education] (collaborative project 2010-2014); North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences (Academy Project 2014-2027) – approx. 9 million euros.

Selected Publications:

  1. Die Entwicklung der Mayaschrift. Grundlagen zur Erforschung des Wandels der Mayaschrift von der Protoklassik bis zur spanischen Eroberung [The Development of Mayan Writing. Fundamentals for Study of the Development of Maya Writing from the Pre-Classic Period until the Spanish Conquest]. Berlin 1990.
  2.  With M. Gaida, Die Maya: Schrift und Kunst [The Maya. Writing and Art]. Berlin and Cologne 2006.
  3. Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens. London 2008.
  4. Der Dresdner Maya-Kalender [The Dresden Maya Calendar]. Herder 2012.
  5. Akan – The God of Drinking, Disease and Death, in: D. Graña-Behrens et al. (eds.), Continuity and Change. Maya Religious Practices in Temporal Perspective. 5th European Maya Conference, UoB, December 2000. Munich 2004, 59-76.
  6. Reading Between the Lines: Hieroglyphic Texts from Chichén Itzá and its Neighbors, in: C. Kristan-Graham and J. K. Kowalski (eds.), Twin Tollans. The Parallel Histories of Chichén Itzá and Tula. Washington, D.C. 2007, 207–251.
  7. Die Kulturen des Alten Amerika [The Cultures of Ancient America], in: A. Jockenhövel (ed.), WBG Weltgeschichte. Eine globale Geschichte von den Anfängen bis ins 21. Jahrhundert. Band 1: Vom Beginn bis 1200 v. Chr. [WBG World History. A Global History from the Beginnings until the 21st Century. Vol. 1: From the Beginning to 1200 BC]. Darmstadt 2009, 412-441.
  8. Das Gottkönigtum bei den Klassischen Maya [Sacred Kingship of the Classic Maya], in: J. Assmann and H. Strohm (eds.), Herrscherkult und Heilserwartung [Imperial Cult and Expectations of Divine Salvation]. Munich 2010, 19-47.
  9. With K. Delvendahl, The Monuments of the 8 Ajaw House: New Evidence on the Calakmul-Uxul Relationship, in: C. Helmke and F. Sachse (eds.), A Celebration of the Life and Work of Pierre Robert Colas. Munich 2014, 75-95.
  10. Löcher in der Stein-Zeit: Höhlen als zeitlose Gegenwelten bei den Klassischen Maya [Holes in the Stone Ages. Caves as Timeless Parallel Worlds amongst the Classic Maya], in: G. Bosinski and H. Strohm (eds.), Höhlen, Kultplätze, Sakrale Kunst [Caves, Holy Places, Sacred Art]. Paderborn 2016, 109-141.


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