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Professor Dr. HERMANN PARZINGER was born in 1959 in Munich. He studied Prehistory, Archaeology and Medieval History from 1979 to 1984 at universities in Munich, Saarbrücken and Ljubljana (Slovenia). In 1985 he received his doctoral degree from the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, where he then worked as Associate Professor from 1986 to 1990. After completing his Habilitation he was appointed in 1990 to the position of Deputy Director of the Römisch-Germanische Kommission of the German Archaeological Institute in Frankfurt/Main; in this capacity he headed up excavations in Spain and Turkey. From 1995 to 2003 he acted as Director of the Eurasian Department of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin and led various archaeological research projects in Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan and Iran. In 1996 he was appointed Honorary Professor for Pre-historic archaeology at the Free University in Berlin, where he continues to teach at present. From 2003 to 2008 he was appointed President of the German Archaeological Institute, and since March 2008 he is President of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).
In 1998 Hermann Parzinger received the highly distinguished Leibniz Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). In 2009 President D. Medvedev of Russia bestowed upon him the “Medal of Friendship”, the highest Russian symbol of recognition for foreign citizens. Nominated by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences he received in 2011 the Reuchlin Award of the City of Pforzheim for outstanding achievements in the Humanities. In 2011 he was admitted into the highly selective Orden Pour le mérite for Arts and Sciences. In 2012 he received from the German president the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2013 the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz awarded him the Sybille Kalkhof-Rose Academy Award for outstanding contributions in the Humanities.He is a member of numerous academies in Russia, China, Spain, Great Britain, Romania, the United States of America and Germany such as amongst others the British Academy. The Royal Academy of History in Madrid, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences in Germany, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
His primary academic focus is on cultural transformations in zones of contact in Europa and Asia. His research projects were dedicated to different periods and topics, dealing with man’s transition to sedentary life in the early Neolithic as well as the beginnings of early nomadism in the 1st millennium BC in the Eurasian steppe belt. Especially noteworthy were his outstanding discoveries of a royal tomb from the Scythian period in Arzhan in Tuva (South Siberia) and of an ice mummy from the same period in the Altai mountains. To this day questions revolving around the origins and of mounted nomads, their conditions of life and culture and the emergence of elite groups in prehistoric societies are central to him. He has written 15 books and over 250 essays on these topics. Furthermore since 2008 he has increasingly published works dealing with cultural and academic policy issues.