Amelung studied from 1884 to 1888 classical antiquity at the universities of Tübingen, Leipzig and Munich. In Tübingen Amelung 1884 member of the Corps Borussia Tübingen. As a student of Heinrich Brunn, where he received his doctorate in Munich in 1888, he received formative inspiration for his academic career. By 1890, worked Amelung, which was part of a famous early 19th century family of actors, as an actor in Munich and Berlin. Only then he turned completely to the archeology and undertook from 1891 to 1893 traveled extensively in the Mediterranean. Here he acquired extensive knowledge of ancient sculpture, which he single shots of ancient sculptures ( with Paul Arndt, continued by Georg Lippold ) was included in the series. The series was intended as a preliminary to a corpus Statuarum Antiquarum which, however, did not materialize.
Amelung lived since 1895 in Rome as a member of the German Archaeological Institute ( DAI). He has authored numerous art leaders and made major contributions to the reconstruction of many ancient statues. After the First World War Amelung 1921 applied the line and thus the reconstruction of the DAI in Rome. In 1927 he died at the age of 62 in Bad Nauheim. He is buried in the Protestant cemetery in Rome, in the immediate vicinity of Goethe's son Karl August.
In addition to his services rendered to archeology Amelung is also known as a translator of Greek and Latin. He was an honorary member of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.