Short Portrait: Karl-Anton Nowotny

Karl-Anton Nowotny
Karl-Anton Nowotny

Karl A. Nowotny was born in Hollabrunn (Lower Austria) 21.04.1904. He studied not only Anthropology but Philosophy and Art History in Vienna. In 1939 he completed his Ph D thesis and graduated.

After participating in World War II Nowotny took up a assistant position at the Ethnological Museum in Vienna in 1947. Eventually he became a custodian at the museum and chaired its Department for Central and South America.

In 1954 Nowotny finished his habilitation thesis. Besides working in the museum he began lecturing at the university. In 1964/65 Nowotny held an interim professorship at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies in Mainz, where Fritz Kramer was among his students.

After his return to Vienna he took up a full professorship at the university, where he lectured not only on Anthropology but also on ancient american cultures. He intensely did research on ancient mexican cultures and their historical documents.

In 1966 Nowotny took up a visiting professorship at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology in Cologne. Furthermore, he did a number of research projects on several ethnic groups on in Northern and Central America.

In 1977 Nowotny returned to Vienna, where he died in 31.12.1978.


Nowotny is mentioned in the interview with Fritz Kramer (
(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in January 2012, based on BAA Prof. Riese)

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