1978 Ph.D. in Precolumbian Studies Universität Hamburg
1973-1978 Studies of Precolumbian studies, anthropology and pre- and early history at the University of Hamburg
1971-1973 Studies of ethnology, pre- and early history, palaeoanthropology und sociology at ht eUniversity of Freiburg

Professional Experience

2001-2017 Director Ethnologisches Museum Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
2000 Visiting Professor, Department of Art, Newcomb College Tulane University, New Orleans
Since 2003 Honorary Professor for Precolumbian Studies and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität, Berlin
1992-2001 Executive Director Übersee-Museum, Bremen
Since 1999 Honorary Professor for Cultural Sciences, Universität Bremen
1986-1992 Director oft he Ethnology Department, Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum, Hanover
1981-1986 Museum Education Officer for Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne
1979-1981 Assistant Curator Museum für Völkerkunde, Hamburg

Research Interests and Scientific Focus

Main field: Mesoamerica: writing systems and iconography (Mixtec, Zapotec)
Other fields: Pacific Northwest Coast of America: ethnography and material culture (Tlingit, Haida Gwaii, Eskimo)
Transpacific Cultural Contacts


Forum Transregionale Studien (Association Transregional Studies), Berlin

Forschungsnetzwerk Lateinamerika Berlin-Brandenburg (ForLaBB, Research Network Latinamerica)

Society  for American Archaeology (SAA)

American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS)

Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde (DGV, German Society of Anthropology)

Deutscher Museumsbund (DMB German Museums Association)

Board Member of The Mixtec Foundation (until 2006)

Editor of Baessler Archiv. Museum für Völkerkunde, Reimer Verlag Berlin (seit 2001)

Editor of TenDenZen. Jahrbuch Übersee-Museum, Bremen (bis 2001)

Editor of Völkerkundliche Abhandlungen, Reimer Verlag Berlin (bis 1993)



2003 Conferment of the “Águila Azteca” at he hands of the President of Mexico Vicente Fox Quesada