The Cairo branch is part of the OeAI and Austria’s only permanent research facility for archaeological field research in Egypt. Its status as official mission of the Republic of Austria was specified in a cultural agreement between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Austria on May 11, 1972. The Cairo Branch is, therefore, notified by the Egyptian foreign ministry as an embassy institution (Office of the Scientific Councilor of the Austrian Embassy).
The tasks of the branch include archaeological research projects in Egypt and the surrounding countries as well as their subsequent scientific publication. The focus is on basic archaeological research, including material culture and cultural-historical studies based on it. The research projects are carried out in cooperation with national and international institutions in transnational teamwork.
An important task is also the further training of young academics in the field of archaeological field research. Furthermore, the branch office acts as a contact for all Austrian institutions wishing to conduct (field) research in Egypt, as well as for the corresponding Egyptian institutions, especially the Ministry of Antiquities.
The Cairo Branch defines itself as a research institution whose main focus is research on the Pharaonic periods of Egypt. In addition, the branch repositioned itself and expanded its activities when it took over the leadership in 2010.
The shift in focus took place both in terms of time and space. While the Tell el-Dab'a excavation was the sole undertaking for many years until 2010 (except for a politically induced interruption and shift of undertakings to Luxor/Asasif), since 2010 the projects have been more diversified. They are now carried out in cooperation with the Vienna headquarters or at the invitation of foreign partner institutions and cover issues from the Pharaonic period (Tell el-Dab'a) through the Roman-early Islamic period (Hisn al-Bab, Nag et Tawil) to the 20th century (Hisn al-Bab/Nubian village).
- Focus: Research on urban studies
- Focus: Research on centre and periphery
- Focus: Upper Egypt
- Maintaining the excavation site Tell el-Dab'a and continuing the field research on urbanism there
- Publication of current projects and old excavations and collections
- Promotion of new and deepening of existing international co-operations
- Contact point and interface for all Austrian institutions wishing to conduct research in Egypt
- Promotion of young researchers