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Overview of "Anthropology of the Americas”

"Anthropology of the Americas" studies indigenous cultures and societies in the Americas from the first traces of human presence on the continent to the present day.

The field of study is interdisciplinary, comprising different methods of cultural research from the following fields:

  • Archaeology, as the study of the past based on material remains
  • Ethnohistory, as the study of the past based on written sources and oral traditions
  • Epigraphy, as the study of indigenous writing systems
  • Linguistics and philology, as the study of Amerindian languages and literature
  • Ethnography/Ethnology, as the study of present-day indigenous groups and culture

The general research goal is a thorough and comparative understanding of the historic, social and political complexities of ancient and present human cultures in the Americas.

The focus of research and teaching at the Department lies on the Andes and Mesoamerica, but the approach is holistic and includes a comparative perspective on the entirety of the indigenous Americas.


The Department in Bonn is the only institution in Germany where Anthropology of the Americas can be studied in this particular form. Founded in 1948, the Department has a long tradition and international reputation in the field. It offers a vibrant research culture that is innovative and reflects a strong commitment to the interdisciplinary approach that combines archaeological, ethnohistorical, linguistic and ethnographic investigations.

Many of these projects are carried out internationally, in cooperation with partner institutions in Latin America, North America and Europe, or as part of national interdisciplinary joint research projects. The multidisciplinary nature of the subject also involves cooperative research with other academic disciplines, including linguistics, archaeology, history, sociology and political science, as well as natural sciences, such as geography and biology.



 Photos: Marco Sueño Saldana