Since 1.1.2021, the Austrian Archaeological Institute (OeAI) focuses on the foundational research in the field of archaeology and classical studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW). The core mission is the investigation of human history from the Quaternary period up to the modern era, taking into consideration all material archaeological sources and written traditions. The institute consists of the three departments Prehistory and Western Asia/North African Archaeology, Historical Archaeology and Classical Studies, which cover the entire professional curriculum and the variety of methods of the disciplines represented. Interdisciplinarity and professional interconnections distinguish the Institute, which is expressed in the creation of central facilities for Archaeological Sciences, Digital Sciences and Heritage Sciences. The extensive research infrastructure of the Institute consists of laboratories, workshops, a technical pool and mobile equipment, as well as archives, collections and the largest archaeological professional library in Austria. The Institute is based in Vienna, with branch offices in Athens, Ephesos, Cairo and Krems.  

The research groups located in the departments are involved with cultural-historical core themes of archaeology and classical studies, and make use of a variety of methods. To these belong field research, material studies, scientific analytical methods, evaluation of documentary sources and editorial work. Additional functions include historic preservation and conservation sciences, both from a theoretical as well as a practical perspective. Research carried out by the Institute is embedded in a dense network of national and international cooperations. Furthermore, the training and promotion of scientific young scholars represents a crucial objective of the Institute. This is carried out by means of academic teaching at local and international universities as well as via the incorporation of young scientists in the Institute's projects.

The OeAI issues its own series of publications and international journals. The publications reflect the core research areas of the Institute and, through international evaluation procedures and Advisory Boards, conform to the highest scientific standards.

In order to maintain a constant national and international quality assurance as well as additional funding, the OeAI strives to succeed in competitive external fund-raising.

Together with a variety of professionally relevant university and non-university research institutes, as well as state and national establishments, the OeAI constitutes the Archaeological Council of Austria established at the OeAW.

The OeAI has been created out of the fusion of the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology (OREA), the Austrian Archaeological Institute (OeAI) and the Institute for the Study of Ancient Culture (IKAnt). The new Institute feels itself equally bound to its foundational functions, which in part date back to the 19th century, as well as to a further development of Austrian and global archaeology and classical studies as part of an international, modern and open research landscape.

Vision: International Cutting-Edge Research & Scientific Archaeology

The OeAI positions itself within the framework of the OeAW as a leading research institution in the disciplines of archaeology and classical studies in Austria. The Institute strives for an international leading position in the fundamental research of its areas of emphasis. The chronological breadth from the Quaternary period until the modern era as well as the national and international (field) research constitute the foundation for this.

The Institute further expands its expertise in the area of scientific archaeology and is the primary contact for bioarchaeological, geoarchaeological and archaeometric research in the country. By expanding its specialised laboratories, its attractiveness for national as well as international junior scholars and experts is increased.

The OeAI aims to create new standards for the investigation of the archaeological-classical cultural heritage. This will be institutionally established in the areas of Digital Archaeology, Classics and Heritage Sciences.

Furthermore, the OeAI will provide a significant contribution to the new positioning of archaeology as a trans-disciplinary cultural science, via the erasure of boundaries in the humanistic, scientific and technical disciplines.

The OeAI will further intensify its national and international activities, research and cooperations. The fundamental research into human history will be consciously understood in a boundary-crossing context and positioned as a strong entrenchment against all forms of nationalisation. Due to its cultural and geographical alignment, the Institute has a bridging function between the research landscapes in central and south-east Europe, the Mediterranean region, as well as a variety of regions of North Africa, and the Near East as far as Central Asia.

Through digitalisation, Open Science and public relations work, the visibility and accessibility of archaeology and classical studies are markedly increased. In this manner, the OeAI makes a significant contribution towards enshrining these professional areas as socially relevant disciplines.