Short Portrait: Hanns Prem

Hanns Prem
Hanns Prem

Hanns Prem was born in Vienna in 1941. He studied Ethnology, Early and Prehistory, Ancient American Studies and Physical Anthropology at the Free University in Berlin between 1959 and 1961. Prem continued his studies at Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Hamburg University, where he graduated in 1966. The following year he took up an assistant position at this institute.

In 1968 Prem took up a position at the Institute for Ethnology and African Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. Besides lecturing he participated in archaeological excavations in Puebla, Mexico, between 1970 and 1974. Moreover, Prem worked on his habilitation thesis which he completed in 1977.

In 1980 Prem was announced professor at the Institute for Ethnology and African Studies in Munich. Three years later he took up a professorship at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology of the Georg-August-University Göttingen. From 1988 onward Prem held a professorship at the Institute for Ancient American Studies and Ethnology at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn.

Besides being the publisher of the magazine “Mexicon” between 1981 and 1991, Prem was member both of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (1987 - 2002) and the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, DAI). Furthermore, Prem did several archaeological excavations in Yucatán/Campeche between 1982 and 2003.

Hanns Prem retired in 2003. He passed away in 2014.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in July 2012, based on an article at; photo source:

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