Martin Berger

Martin Berger

Martin Berger

Martin Berger (1985) is Junior Curator Middle and South America. His research interest lies in global flows of people and objects, indigenous forms of representation, (etnographic) museums and collections histories, and popular culture. He has explored these interests with specifical attention to the Mesoamerican and Andean area.  


Martin studied Latin American Archaeology and Ethnography at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD at Leiden in 2016, with the dissertation From Ollamaliztli to Pelota Mixteca and beyond : the role of globalization in the historical development of an indigenous Mexican ballgame. At the National Museum of World Cultures he curated numerous exhibitions, including the permanent Middle and South American galleries of the National Museum of Ethnology (2011 – with Dr. Laura van Broekhoven), A World of Feathers (NME 2016, Afrikamuseum 2017, Museum of World Cultures Göteborg 2018, Ethnographic Museum Stockholm 2018), and Afterlives of Slavery (Tropenmuseum, 2017-2020).

Currently, Martin’s research focuses on the international art market for pre-Columbian Mesoamerican pieces in the twentieth century, and the use and cultural meaning of turquoise in pre-Colonial Mesoamerica. For this research, he has held fellowships at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (Summer Fellowship, 2014) and at Yale University /IPCH (Short-Term Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2017). Parts of the research were financed by a European Commission CHARISMA grant (2011) and a European Commission IPERION-CH grant (2018).


BERGER, Martin

  • 2010     El Juego de Pelota Mixteca: Identidad, Tradición y Cambio Cultural. Itinerarios 12:157-177.
  • 2011     The ballplayers of Dainzú? An alternative interpretation of the Dainzú Iconography. Mexicon 33(2): 46-51. 
  • 2013     Real, Fake, or a Combination? Examining the Authenticity of a Mesoamerican mosaic skull at the National Museum of Ethnology, The Netherlands. In: What is Authenticity? Questions of Authenticity and Authentication in Ethnographic Museums, Alexander Geurds and Laura Van Broekhoven (eds.). Sidestone Press, Leiden.
  • 2016     The Importance of Tradition? Analyzing the struggle for survival of pelota mixteca, an indigenous Mexican game. Indigenous Self-representation in Canada, the US, and Mexico Conference. Interamericana series 5, Peter Lang Publishers.

BERGER, Martin and Leopoldo PEÑA

  • 2014     Creating Spaces of Transborder Play: Indigenous Mexican Migrants in California and the Game of Pelota Mixteca. Streetnotes 22:108-118


  • 2010     Maya 2012 – Mysterie, Geloof en Wetenschap. Amsterdam, KIT Publishers.

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