C. W. Ceram

C. W. Ceram (20 January 1915 – 12 April 1972) was the pseudonym of German journalist, editor at Rowohlt Verlag, and author Kurt Wilhelm Marek, known for his popular works about archaeology.[1] He chose to write under a pseudonym — spelling his own name backward as an ananym, and latinizing the K as C — to distance himself from his earlier work as a propagandist for the Third Reich.

Original German cover of Gods, Graves and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology (1949)

Ceram was born in Berlin. During World War II, he was a member of the Propagandatruppe. His works from that period include Wir hielten Narvik, 1941, and Rote Spiegel - überall am Feind. Von den Kanonieren des Reichsmarschalls, 1943.

In 1949, Ceram wrote his most famous book, Götter, Gräber und Gelehrte — published in English as Gods, Graves and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology — an account of the historical development of archaeology. Published in 28 languages, Ceram's book eventually received a printing of over 5 million copies, and is still in print today. His very first article in this vein was about epigraphy entitled: On the Decipherment of an Unknown Script and was published in the Berliner Illustrierte (1935).

Other books by the author include The Secret of the Hittites (1956), March of Archaeology (1958) and The First American (1971), a book on ancient North American history. Under his actual name he wrote Yestermorrow: Notes on Man's Progress (1961); Hands on the Past: The Pioneer Archaeologists Tell Their Own Story (1966).

Kurt Marek was responsible for the publication of A Woman in Berlin, the anonymous memoir of a German woman raped by Red Army troops.[2]

He died at Hamburg in 1972.

The Ceram Prize in archaeology is named after him.


  1. ^ Nerger, Klaus. "C.W. Ceram eigentl. Kurt Willy Marek" [C.W. Ceram really Kurt Willy Marek]. knerger.de (in German). Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  2. ^ Luke Harding (2003-10-05). "Row over naming of rape author". The Observer. Retrieved 2017-02-12.