Anthropology Faculty

Reinhard Bernbeck  Reinhard Bernbeck

   Professor of Anthropology
   PhD, Freie Universität Berlin, 1991
   Currently on an extended leave of absence

Research interests

Reinhard is an archaeologist specializing on Western Asian prehistory and history. His interests range from the economic organization of ancient societies to ancient imperialism in comparison to its manifestations today. Another field of engagement are the often repressive conditions into which archaeology is inserted in the present, as well as the ideological dimensions of archaeology as a means to endorse the political status quo.

Reinhard has co-directed fieldwork at the prehistoric sites of Kazane and Fistikli Höyük (Turkey), Tol-e Bashi and Rahmatabad (Iran), Abu Snesleh (Jordan). At present, he co-directs a multi-year excavation project in Turkmenistan at Monjukli Depe. []

Susan Pollock and Reinhard Bernbeck have started an archaeological excavation in the middle of Germany's capital Berlin. Tempelhof Airport, famous for the Berlin Airlift of the years 1948-1949, has a much darker side in its history: it was the locus of forced labor camps under the Nazis. We are excavating the remains of a 1920s airport building, used for military purposes in WW II, and a forced labor camp run by the Deutsche Lufthansa (

A filmmaker in Berlin made a documentary of our excavatiions at the Tempelhof Airfield in Berlin.  (Film is in German)


Co-edited volumes

2016    The Limits of Experience: Suffering, Nazi Forced Labor Camps and
Archaeology. In Michelle Hegmon, ed.: Archaeology of the Human Experience.
Archaeological Papers, American Anthropological Association 2, pp. 22-39.
DOI: 10.1111/apaa.12072 (with Susan Pollock).

2016    Qaleh Rostam: Reconsidering the ‘Rise of a Highland Way of Life’. An
Integrated Bioarchaeological Analysis. In Kourosh Roustaei and Marjan
Mashkour, eds.: The Neolithic of the Iranian Plateau. Recent Research, pp.
107-136 (with Julie Daujat, Marjane Mashkour, Aline Emery-Barbier and
Reinder Neef). Berlin: ex oriente.

2015    Ruth van Dyke and Reinhard Bernbeck, eds.: Subjects and Narratives in
Archaeology.  Boulder: University Press of Colorado.

2015    Networks, Globalization and Power: Reflections on Past Spatialities.
In Peter Pfälzner and Michel Maqdissi, eds.: Qatna and the Networks of
Bronze Age Globalism. Proceedings of an International Conference in
Stuttgart and Tübingen in October 2009, pp. 3-10. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

2015    ‘Framed Ambiguity’ - der historiographische Status der Dinge in
Konzentrationslagern und NS-Zwangsarbeitslagern. Historische Anthropologie
23 (3): 413-430.

2013    Olivier Nieuwenhuyse, Reinhard Bernbeck, Peter Akkermans and Jana
Rogasch, eds.: Interpreting the Late Neolithic in Upper Mesopotamia.
Leiden: Brepols.

2013    Olivier Nieuwenhuyse, Reinhard Bernbeck, Peter Akkermans and Jana
Rogasch, eds.: Interpreting the Late Neolithic in Upper Mesopotamia.
Leiden: Brepols.

2013    Heritage Void and the Void as Heritage. Archaeologies 9 (3): 526-545.

2011     Reinhard Bernbeck and Randall H. McGuire, eds.: Ideologies in Archaeology. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

2010     Susan Pollock, Reinhard Bernbeck, and Kamyar Abdi, eds.: The 2003 Excavations at Tol-e Bashi, Iran. Social Life in a Neolithic Village. Archäologie in Iran und Turan, 10. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

2008     Maria Theresia Starzmann, Susan Pollock and Reinhard Bernbeck, eds.: Imperial Inspections: Archaeology, War, and Violence. Theme Issue, Archaeologies 4 (3).


2012     Jenseits des Affirmativismus. Perspektiven für kritische Archäologien. (Beyond Affirmation: Perspectives for Critical Archaeologies). Forum Kritische Archäologie 1: 167-196 (with Aydin Abar, Antonia Davidovic, Christoph Forster, Johannes Greger Carolin Jauss and Susan Pollock).

2012     Multitudes before Sovereignty. Theoretical Reflections on a Late Neolithic Case. In Tobias Kienlin and Andreas Zimmermann, eds.: Beyond Elites. Alternatives to Hierarchical Systems in Modelling Social Formations, pp. 147-167. Bonn: Habelt.

2010     An Archaeology of Categorization and Categories in Archaeology. Paléorient 36 (1): 37-47 (with Susan Pollock).

2010     Heritage Politics: Learning from Mullah Omar? In Ran Boytner, Lynn Swartz Dodd and Bradley J. Parker, eds.: Controlling the Past, Owning the Future. The Political Uses of Archaeology in the Middle East, pp. 27-54. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

2010     Imperialist Networks: Ancient Assyria and the United States. Present Pasts 2 (1): 142-168. doi:10.5334/pp.30.

2009     Class Conflict in Ancient Mesopotamia: Between Knowledge of History and Historicizing Knowledge. Anthropology of the Middle East 4 (1): 33-64.

2008     Structural Violence in Archaeology. Archaeologies 4 (3): 390-413.

Last Updated: 2/10/17