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

Principal Investigator

Nikolai Grube

University of Bonn
Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
Department for the Anthropology of the Americas
Oxfordstr. 15
D-53111 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 7412


Current Position

Professor at the Department of Ancient American Studies and Ethnology
Deputy Spokesperson for the Research Training Group "Archaeology of Premodern Economies”


Nikolai Grube 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.

8 additional published anthologies, 110 papers and numerous reviews. Approx. 150 national and international lectures and presentations, 25 completed, 18 ongoing doctorates, 55 Magister, 15 Master and 13 Bachelor theses as supervisor/ first reviewer.


  • 1999                    Habilitation and Venia legendi in Ethnology and Ancient American Studies
  • 1985–1988          Ph.D. in Ancient American Studies, Ethnology and Ancient Oriental Studies, University of Hamburg,
  • 1982–1985          M.A. in Ancient American Studies, Ethnology, Indology, University of Hamburg, Germany

Academic Positions

  • 2004–present      Professor for the Anthropology of the Americas and Cultural Anthropology, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 2000                    Director of the "Center for the History of Ancient American Art and Civilization" at the University of Texas,
                                Austin, USA
  • 1999–2000          Professor of the “Linda and David Schele Chair on the Art and Writing of Mesoamerica", 
  • 1995–1998          Lecturer, Institute of Ethnology, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 1991–1994          Research Associate and Consultant of the Special Exhibition "The World of the Maya" at the Roemer and
                                Pelizaeus Museum, Hildesheim, Germany

Scholarships and Awards

  • 2016                    Honorary doctorate of the Instituto Politénico Nacional, Mexico
  • 2015                    "Benedictus Polonius" award of the University of Warsaw, Poland
  • 2007                    Honorary Citizen of Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • 1992–1994          Scholarship of the German Research Foundation for Postdoctoral Qualification (Habilitation)

Participation in Centers, Scientific Associations, Collaborative Projects

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

Additional Academic Activities

  •                             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)
  • 2012–present      Co-editor of “The Early Americas” series: History and Culture
  • 2008–present      Co-editor of the journal “Estudios de Cultura Maya”
  • 1996–present      Co-editor of the “Acta Mesoamericana” series
  • 1985–present      Co-editor of the magazine “Mexicon. Journal of Mesoamerican Studies”

Third-Party Funding

  • North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences (Academy Project 2014-2027)
  • BMBF [Ministry for Science and Education] (collaborative project 2010-2014)
  • DFG [German Science Foundation] (4 funded projects since 2004)

Total sum of approximately 9 million euros.

Selected Publications

  • 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, H. Strohm (eds.): Höhlen, Kultplätze, Sakrale Kunst. [Caves, Holy Places, Sacred Art]. Paderborn 2016, 109-141.
  • With K. Delvendahl: The Monuments of the 8 Ajaw House: New Evidence on the Calakmul-Uxul Relationship. In: C. Helmke, F. Sachse (eds.): A Celebration of the Life and Work of Pierre Robert Colas. Munich 2014, 75-95.
  • Der Dresdner Maya-Kalender. [The Dresden Maya Calendar]. Herder 2012.
  • Das Gottkönigtum bei den Klassischen Maya. [Sacred Kingship of the Classic Maya]. In: J. Assmann, H. Strohm (eds.): Herrscherkult und Heilserwartung [Imperial Cult and Expectations of Divine Salvation]. Munich 2010, 19-47.
  • 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.
  • Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens. London 2008.
  • Reading Between the Lines: Hieroglyphic Texts from Chichén Itzá and its Neighbors. In: C. Kristan-Graham, J. K. Kowalski (eds.): Twin Tollans. The Parallel Histories of Chichén Itzá and Tula. Washington, D.C. 2007, 207–251.
  • With M. Gaida: Die Maya: Schrift und Kunst. [The Maya. Writing and Art]. Berlin/Cologne 2006.
  • 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, University of Bonn, December 2000. Munich 2004, 59-76.
  • 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.
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