The branch office of the OeAI in Athens, founded in 1898, investigates the cultural heritage of Greece and the Aegean, that has become defining for Europe and the world in many respects. The branch office constitutes a central point of intersection between Greece and Austria, since it represents and communicates Austrian research in Greece, and vice versa.
The institute building was constructed according to plans by the architect Ernst Ziller, on a plot of land donated by the Greek state for this purpose on Leoforos Alexandras street near the Greek National Museum; it opened in 1908. Today, in addition to offices, it houses an apartment for guests and fellows of the Institute, as well as a professional library which is open to colleagues for study purposes.
The areas of responsibility of the OeAI Athens include research and excavation activities, as well as specialised and administrative support of Austrian scholars and students during their research in Greece. It advocates on behalf of Austrian applications for field research (excavations, surveys, geophysical surveys), authorisations for study, material inspections, analysis of material samples, as well as permissions for guiding (for excursions) at the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sport. In preparing applications to the Greek antiquities authority, the OeAI ensures that guidelines for the right to apply are followed.
The ATHENS-Fellowship of the OeAW offers qualified scholars from all areas of antiquity and archaeology the possibility for a research residency at the Athens branch office, in order to take advantage of the ideal research infrastructure not only at the OeAI but also at the many other foreign Institutes in Athens.
In addition, the OeAI Athens branch regularly organises events such as professional conferences and lecture series, attended by international and national specialists. These offer the ATHENS fellowship scholars, amongst others, a forum for the presentation of their research projects. The main themes of the lecture series are influenced by the work and projects of the OeAI.
Every two years the OeAI Athens carries out a Summer School that takes place with the participation of university lecturers from Austrian universities and research establishments. The calls for proposals, on a specific theme, are directed towards small groups of motivated junior scholars (doctoral students and post-docs) from all Austrian universities in the disciplines of prehistory, early history, classical archaeology, architecture (building history), ancient history and classical studies, epigraphy, numismatics, classical philology and Byzantine studies. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the next Summer School is planned for 2022.
The new publication series, »Arete. Publications of the OeAI in Athens« is designed to disseminate research projects on Greek themes, extending from antiquity up until the Byzantine era. In particular, this journal publishes research and excavation projects carried out at the branch institute, as well as events and conferences.