Documents on the history and research of the institute are kept in the archives of the OeAI. The archives are research oriented and safeguard photographs, maps, drawings, writing, and squeezes of inscriptions. The archives are also available to external users.
The archives are divided into five areas
- Documentation archive: written documents, such as files, correspondence, diaries, estates
- Image archive: photographs, slides, lantern slides
- Map archive: plans, maps, reconstructions, drawings, excavation and, find documentation
- Epigraphic archive: collection of squeezes and sketch books of inscriptions
- Image database: digital archival material (images and maps)
The material archived here mainly originates from the research and administrative activities of the institute and is organized according to the following criteria:
- Administrative material that mainly contains information regarding the history of the institute, its branch offices and its employees.
- Scientific material that mainly originates from the excavation activities of the OeAI and is arranged topographically: Austria (alphabetically according to the provinces and sites, emphasis: Carnuntum) and foreign (emphasis: Ephesos).
- Estates of former directors and scientific staff that have been arranged as individual collections whenever possible. The following estates (or partial estates) are available: Fritz Eichler, Rudolf Egger, Franz Miltner, Camillo Praschniker, Emil Reisch, Hermann Vetters, Otto Walter.
The material included in the image archive mainly includes the photographic documentation of the OeAI excavations from the foundation of the institute to the present day.
About 10,000 lantern glass slides stand out from the negative collection and include images from the beginning of the excavations in Ephesos up to the 1950s. The storage of this valuable historical image collection is currently being rearranged. The aim is to protect the images to the greatest possible extent. The slides are being repackaged in folding envelopes according to modern archival practices and are being stored in special archival boxes. During this process the pictures are also being digitized.
The collection of negative films in various formats (approx. 108,000 images, mainly black and white) from the 1950s to the 1990s mainly feature excavation photographs and documentation of the various find groups.
The slide collection (total approximately 130,000 slides) includes general photographs of excavation sites of the institute and also images that were created during research trips of members of the department. Added to this are detailed shots as well as excavation documentation of OeAI research projects.
In 2009/2010 the entire slide collection of the institute was digitized. The data is currently being uploaded into the image database and the indexing is in progress.
The OeAI also houses an epigraphic archive with around 5,000 squeezes (paper and latex). A large part (around 4,000 copies) are of Ephesian inscriptions but there are also some from other excavations and research trips of the OeAI. There are also sketch books of the inscriptions from Ephesos. The use of the archive is possible upon request.
The map archive includes around 10,000 drawn records of excavations, overview plans, maps, reconstruction drawings, photographs of architectural fragments, geodetic documents and more in pencil originals, inked drawings, copies, or in digital format. The plans originate from the excavations of the OeAI since the late 19th century to the modern day from various provinces of the Roman Empire, from Austria, the Balkans, Greece, and the vast majority from Ephesos. The oldest records include documentary and artistically valuable watercolors with landscape paintings and ink drawings of various buildings (mainly Carl Humann, George Niemann, Wilhelm Wilberg).
A collection of the map archive (Lycia archive) contains the research on the excavations in Limyra.
The maps are arranged according to size (A4–A0) and stored in roles, acid-free cardboard folders, and partially in handmade cases made of special archival film and placed in metal cabinets.
In 2014–2016 the entire map collection was scanned, uploaded into the image database, and largely indexed. 23,131 maps are already available and soon around 25,000 maps will be centrally archived in digital form. The map archive is available through the image database at the institute.
Since 2002, a digital image database on the basis of the software Easy DB by the company programmfabrik has been created. The aim is to safeguard the collection, to efficiently manage the annually created image material of all ongoing projects, and to simplify its use in research, teaching, printing, and public relations. About 295,000 images (August 2017) have been fully indexed in the database and at least 23,131 maps are retrievable. The use of the image database is possible upon request but can only be used at the institute.
Reproduction of archival material in publications
The material (photographs, negatives, scans, written material), for which the OeAI holds the copyright and that do not have any further restrictions, can be made available for publication. The OeAI only charges reproduction fees for non-scientific publications; otherwise only possible production costs can accrue.