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 responsibilities of the branch include archaeological research projects in Egypt and the surrounding countries as well as their subsequent scientific publication. The focus is on archaeological basic science, including the material culture and cultural and historical research based on it. The research projects are implemented in cooperation with national and international institutions in multinational teams.
An important responsibility is the further education of young scholars in the area of archaeological fieldwork. Furthermore, the branch also functions as a point of contact for all Austrian institutions that would like to conduct (field) research in Egypt as well as for the corresponding Egyptian institutions, particularly the Ministry of Antiquities.
The Cairo Branch defines itself as a research institution which focuses on the study of Egypt’s Pharaonic periods. Furthermore, the change in leadership in 2010 of the branch also led to a realignment and an expansion of its activities.
The focus of research shifted both in its temporal and spatial dimension. Up until 2010 the excavations in Tell el-Dab’a has been the only excavations for many years (with the exception of a politically motivated interruption and a shift of the work to Luxor/Asasif); since 2010 the projects have become more diversified. They now take place in cooperation with the head office Vienna or by invitation from foreign partner institutions and include questions regarding the Pharaonic period (Tell el-Dab’a) to the Roman-early Islamic period (Hisn al-Bab, Nag et Tawil) up to the 20th century (Hisn al-Bab/Nubian village).
- Focus: Research on urban planning
- Focus: Research on center and periphery
- Focus: Upper Egypt
- Maintenance of the excavation site Tell el-Dab'a and continuation of the local field research on urban planning
- Publication of the current projects and older excavations and material
- Promotion of new and strengthening of existing international cooperation partners
- Point of contact and interface for all Austrian institutions that would like to conduct research in Egypt
- Support of young scholars