Prof. Dr. Jan H. Bemmann

Jan Bemmann.jpg
© Jan Bemmann

Academic Profile

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.

Habilitation in Pre- and Early Historical Archaeology, University of Jena, Germany

Ph.D. in Pre- and Early Historical Archaeology, University of Kiel, Germany

M.A. in Pre- and Early Historical Archaeology, Medieval and Modern History, Soil Science at the Universities of Kiel, Saarbrücken and Munich, Germany

since 2005
Professor for Prehistory and Early Historical Archaeology, University of Bonn, Germany

Research Associate, University of Jena, Germany

West Coast Center for Research and Technology

Professor, University of Vienna, Austria

Professor, University of Munich, Germany

Order of the Polar Star from the Government of Mongolia


Member, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Historical School

Visiting Research Fellow, Jilin University, China

Visiting Research Scholar, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University, USA

Khubilai Khan Medal, Mongolian Academy of Science

Honorary doctorate, Mongolian Academy of Science

Postdoctoral Fellowship of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Fellowship of the German Archaeological Institute

Ph.D. Scholarship of Friedrich Naumann Foundation

  • Speaker of the DFG FOR-5438 (since 2023) 
  • Head of the longterm project "Limes and Legion" 2022–2039 funded by Akademienprogramm with € 10 million (since 2022)
  • Speaker of Bonn Center for ArchaeoSciences, funded by Volkswagenstiftung (since 2019) 
  • 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"
  • DFG-FOR 5438, "Urban impacts on the Mongolian Plateau – Entanglements of Economy, City, and Environment," speaker and one out of eight PIs (since 2023)
  • Akademienprogram, "Limes und Legion. Zur Wirkmächtigkeit römischer Militärpräsenz," PI, cooperation partners: Michael Schmauder (LVR-Landesmuseum Bonn), Marinus Polak (Nijmegen), Salvatore Ortisi (LMU München), funding: € 10 million (since 2022) 
  • Foundation of the Bonn Center for ArchaeoSciences (BoCAS), PI together with Profs. Bentz and Grube, funding: Volkswagen Stiftung € 997,000, University of Bonn € 474.000 (since 2021)
  • 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.

  • 2023. "Décrypter le mystère des villes impérials de la steppe." In Les Mongols et le Monde: L'autre visage de l'empire de Gengis Khan, edited by Marie Favereau, 124–138. Nantes.
  • 2022. With Susanne Reichert and Nasan-Ochir Erdene-Ochir. "A unique burial of the fourth millennium BCE and the earliest burial traditions in Mongolia." In Asian Perspectives 61(2): 220–252. Open access
  • 2022. With Susanne Reichert, Nasan-Ochir Erdene-Ochir, Sven Linzen, and Lkh. Munkhbayar. "Overlooked – Enigmatic – Underrated: The city Khar Khul Khaany Balgas in the heartland of the Mongol World Empire." In Journal of Field Archaeology 47(6): 397–420. Open access
  • 2022. With Sven Linzen, Susanne Reichert, and Lkh. Munkhbayar. "Mapping Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol Empire." In Antiquity 96(385): 159–178. Open access
  • 2021. With Susanne Reichert. "Karakorum, the first capital of the Mongol World Empire – an imperial city in a non-urban society." In Asian Archaeology 4: 121–143. Open access
  • 2019. With Gisela Grupe, Michael Marx, Pia-Maria Schellerer, Ursula Brosseder, Ch. Yeruul-Erdene, and J.-O. Gantulga. "Bioarchaeology of Bronze and Iron Age skeletal finds from a microregion in Central Mongolia". Anthropologischer Anzeiger 76(1).
  • 2018. With Altangerel Ėnkhtör and Ursula Brosseder. "The First Excavations of Bronze and Iron Age Monuments in the Middle Orkhon Valley, Central Mongolia: Results from Rescue Investigations in 2006 and 2007." Asian Archaeology 1: 3–44.
  • 2017. With Ursula Brosseder. "A Long Standing Tradition – Stelae in the Steppes with a Special Focus on the Slab Grave Culture." In Aktual’nye voprosy Arkheologii i Etnologii Tsentral’noi Azii, II mezhdunarodnaia naucnaia konferentsiia, 4–6 Dekabria 2017 g. posviashchenoi 80-letiiu d.i.n. prof. P. B. Konovalova, edited by B. V. Bazarov and N. N. Kradin, 14–25. Ulan-Ude.
  • 2016. As editor. With Manuela Mirschenz. Der Rhein als europäische Verkehrsachse II. Bonner Beiträge zur Vor- und Frühgeschichtlichen Archäologie 19. 
  • 2016. "Hirschstein oder neolithischer Menhir? Zwei konkurrierende Interpretationen zu einem ungewöhnlichen Steindenkmal in Sachsen-Anhalt." Prähistorische Zeitschrift 91(2): 495–510.
  • 2015. As editor. With Michael Schmauder. 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.
  • 2014. With Eva Lehndorff, Riccardo Klinger, Sven Linzen, Lkhagvardorj Munkhbayar, Martin Oczipka, Henny Piezonka, and Susanne Reichert. "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.
  • 2012. As editor. Steppenkrieger – Reiternomaden des 7.–14. Jahrhunderts aus der Mongolei. Darmstadt: Primus Verlag.
  • 2011. With Thomas O. Höllmann, Birte Ahrens, Thomas Kaiser, and Shing Müller. "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.
  • 2010. As editor. With Ulambayar Erdenebat and Ernst Pohl. 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.
  • 2007. As editor. With Hermann Parzinger, Ernst Pohl, and Damdinsüren Tseveendorzh. 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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