Department of Anthropology

The comprehensive collections of the Department of Anthropology at the Natural History Museum Vienna make it a global leader in its field. Since its founding as the Department of Anthropology and Ethnography at the k.u.k. (Imperial and Royal) Naturhistorischen Hofmuseum in 1876, the department has amassed 60.000 specimens (including prehistoric human skeletal remains, photographs and X-rays, casts and moulds, metric/morphological finds). Qualified employees work on the curation of the scientific collections and in the comprehensive and important specialist library.

Mission statement

It is our aim to foster, stimulate, and carry out research and compile detailed information on anthropological collections, shedding light on the broad themes of human evolution, bioarcheology, and evolutionary and modern medicine, including archeological, cultural, and historical studies.

Therefore, we seek to care for and investigate the collections, test hypotheses and to combine, employ, and develop traditional and innovative methods in integrative and inter-/transdisciplinary approaches.
Additionally, we aim to spark enthusiasm and disseminate our knowledge and research through publications, exhibits, guided tours, lectures, and creative outreach programs to a wider scientific community and the interested public.

We specialize in responsible research, within proper scientific discourse, and in addressing multifaceted topics in anthropological research.

We are aware of our ethical responsibility in research on human remains. We make all decisions in careful consultation among the curators. In specific cases we consult with the relevant communities of origin and external experts. We focus our work on respect and appreciation for the individual, respect for the diversity of world views and respect for the value of science.