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

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

University of Bonn
Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
Department for the Anthropology of the Americas
Oxfordstr. 15
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 7412

Current Position

  • Professor for the Anthropology of the Americas and Cultural Anthropology
  • 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, Germany
  • 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", 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 Economies"
  • 2010–present         Board member of the BMBF competence network ("Area Studies" in Germany) "Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging"
  • 2007–present         Member of the International Center for Philosophy NRW, Bonn, Germany

Third-Party Funding

  •                                    Franco-German University (DFH)
  • 2014–2027              North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences (Academy Project)
  • 2010–2014              BMBF [Ministry for Science and Education] (collaborative project)
  • since 2004               DFG [German Science Foundation] (4 funded projects)
    total sum of approximately 9 million euros

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"

Selected Publications

  • 2016. “Löcher in der Stein-Zeit. Höhlen als zeitlose Gegenwelten bei den Klassischen Maya.” In Höhlen, Kultplätze, Sakrale Kunst. Kunst der Urgeschichte im Spiegel sprachdokumentierter Religionen, edited by Gerhard Bosinski and Harald Strohm, 109–141. Boston: Brill.

  • and Kai Delvendahl. 2014. “The Monuments of the 8 Ajaw House. New Evidence on the Calakmul-Uxul Relationship.” In A Celebration of the Life and Work of Pierre Robert Colas, edited by Christopher Helmke and Frauke Sachse, 75–95. Munich: Anton Sauerwein.

  • 2012. Der Dresdner Maya-Kalender. Der vollständige Kodex. Freiburg im Breigau: Herder.

  • 2010. “Das Gottkönigtum bei den Klassischen Maya.” In Herrscherkult und Heilserwartung, edited by Jan Assmann and Harald Strohm, 19–47. Munich: Wilhelm Fink.

  • 2009. “Die Kulturen des Alten Amerika.” In WBG Weltgeschichte. Eine globale Geschichte von den Anfängen bis ins 21. Jahrhundert. Band 1: Vom Beginn bis 1200 v. Chr., edited by Albrecht Jockenhövel, 412–441. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft

  • and Simon Martin. 2008. Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens. Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya. London: Thames & Hudson.

  •  2007. “Reading Between the Lines. Hieroglyphic Texts from Chichén Itzá and its Neighbors.” In Twin Tollans. Chíchén Itzá, Tula, and the Epiclassic to Early Postclassic Mesoamerican World, edited by Cynthia Kristan-Graham and Jeff K. Kowalski, 207–251. Washington, D.C: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

  • and Maria Gaida. 2006. Die Maya. Schrift und Kunst. Cologne: DuMont.

  • 2004. “Akan – The God of Drinking, Disease and Death.” In Continuity and Change. Maya Religious Practices in Temporal Perspective. 5th European Maya Conference, University of Bonn, December 2000, edited by Daniel Graña-Behrens et al., 59–76. Munich: Anton Sauerwein.

  • 1990. Die Entwicklung der Mayaschrift. Grundlagen zur Erforschung des Wandels der Mayaschrift von der Protoklassik bis zur spanischen Eroberung. Acta Mesoamericana 3. Berlin: Von Flemming.

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