Jan Bemmann
Prof. Dr. Jan Bemmann

Prof. Dr. Jan H. 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 for 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 for 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                 Postdoctoral Fellowship of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • 1989–1990                 Fellowship of the German Archaeological Institute
  • 1986–1988                 Ph.D. 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 First 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"

Additional Academic Activities

  • Co-editor of the series "Imperial Subjects: Autobiographik und Biographik im imperialen Kontext" [Imperial Subjects: Autobiography and Biography in Imperial Context]
  • Reviewer for national and international research foundations and scientific journals
  • external member of an appointment committee for a chair of Eastern European History at a German university (2015)

Third-Party Funding

  • German Research Foundation DFG-SNF research project "Imperial Subjects", University of Munich (LMU) and University of Basel, 2013–2016
  • German Research Foundation 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

  • and Michael Schmauder, eds. 2015. Complexity of Interaction along the Eurasian Steppe Zone in the First Millennium CE. Bonn Contributions to Asian Archaeology 7. Bonn: Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie, Universität Bonn.

  • 2014. “Mitteldeutschland und das Gallische Sonderreich 260–274 – Eine liebgewonnene These auf dem Prüfstand.” Kölner Jahrbuch für Vor- und Frühgeschichte 47: 179–213.

  • Eva Lehndorff, Riccardo Klinger, Sven Linzen, Lkhagvardorj Munkhbayar, Martin Oczipka, Henny Piezonka, and Susanne Reichert. 2014. “Biomarkers in Archaeology – Land Use around the Uyghur Capital Karabalgasun, Orkhon Valley, Mongolia.” Prähistorische Zeitschrift 89(2): 337–370.

  • 2013. “Kurt Tackenberg und die Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie an der Universität Bonn. Die Jahre 1937–1945.” In Archäologie und Bodendenkmalpflege in der Rheinprovinz 1920–1945, edited by Jürgen Kunow, Thomas Otten, and Jan Bemmann, 353–385. Bonn: LVR-Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland.

  • ed. 2012. Steppenkrieger – Reiternomaden des 7.–14. Jahrhunderts aus der Mongolei. Darmstadt: Primus Verlag.

  • Thomas O. Höllmann, Birte Ahrens, Thomas Kaiser, and Shing Müller. 2011. “A Stone Quarry in the Hinterland of Karakorum, Mongolia, with Evidence of Chinese Stonemasons.” Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology 6: 101–136.

  • 2011. “Was the Center of the Xiongnu Empire in the Orkhon Valley?” In Xiongnu Archaeology – Multidisciplinary Perspectives of the First Steppe Empire in Inner Asia, edited by Ursula Brosseder and Bryan K. Miller, 441–461. Bonn: Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie, Universität Bonn.

  •  Ulambayar Erdenebat, and Ernst Pohl, eds. 2010. Mongolian-German Karakorum-Expedition Vol. 1: Excavations in the Craftsmen-Quarter at the Main Road. Forschungen zur Archäologie außereuropäischer Kulturen 8. Wiesbaden: Reichert.

  • 2009. “Mitteldeutschland im 5. und 6. Jahrhundert. Was ist und ab wann gibt es archäologisch betrachtet typisch Thüringisches? Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme.” In Die Frühzeit der Thüringer. Archäologie, Sprache, Geschichte, edited by Helmut Castritius, Dieter Geuenich, and Matthias Werner, 63–81. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

  • Hermann Parzinger, Ernst Pohl, and Damdinsüren Tseveendorzh, eds. 2007. Current Archaeological Research in Mongolia. Papers from the First International Conference on “Archaeological Research in Mongolia”, held in Ulaanbaatar, August 19th-23rd. Bonn Contributions to Asian Archaeology 4. Bonn: Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie, Universität Bonn.

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