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German Archaeological Institute

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The German Archaeological Institute (DAI) is the world’s leading research institution in the field of archaeology and ancient history.

Staff from the Yemeni antiquities agency and local employees learning basic surveying skills in Tan’im (Yemen).
Staff from the Yemeni antiquities agency and local employees learning basic surveying skills in Tan’im (Yemen).© Irmgard Wagner/DAI
The DAI’s researchers work to encourage a deeper mutual understanding among cultures in over 300 international projects and are therefore an important element of Germany’s cultural relations and education policy.The DAI was founded in Rome in 1829 by a group of friends comprising scholars, artists and diplomats. Its Head Office has been based in Berlin since 1833 and it has been directly affiliated with the Federal Foreign Office as a research institution since 1874.In addition to its three large commissions in Germany (in Bonn, Frankfurt and Munich), the DAI maintains departments in Rome, Athens, Madrid, Istanbul and Cairo. It also has branch offices around the world in Baghdad, Tehran, Sana’a, Damascus and Beijing (the latter opened in 2010), as well as research units in Amman, Jerusalem, Lisbon, Madrid and Ulan Bator.

Tasks and objectives

The DAI’s tasks and objectives include research work on archaeology and ancient history around the world, preserving cultural heritage and supporting the conservation and maintenance of cultural identity in host and partner countries. Facilities are maintained for this purpose that are available to the international research community (including libraries, archives and photo archives). The DAI is, for example, working to expand international cooperation in science and research and promoting junior archaeologists. Furthermore, it is an important actor with regard to Germany’s research and academic relations and cultural relations and education policies.

The German Archaeological Institute seeks to promote understanding of earlier civilisations in human history, which are often important to this day. It disseminates research results in academic and popular publications, often in the local language of host countries, and opens up and makes available analogue and digital archives of knowledge for the international research community and publishes findings in exhibitions. Site management and measures to preserve cultural heritage are also part of the DAI’s remit, as are regional economic promotion through opening up ancient sites to tourists – as local capacity building projects – and setting up builders’ huts as the basis for independent measures to preserve cultural heritage.

Moreover, the DAI is involved in degree courses in Germany and abroad and its researchers supervise bachelor’s and master’s theses, doctorate and post-doctoral projects and workshops and summer schools on education and training in the host and partner countries. The DAI plays an active advisory role in many different areas, both in the political arena and in the context of UNESCO.

Contribution to intercultural dialogue

In many countries, archaeology is seen as a national concern. As a tool for defining and communicating cultural identity, exploring a nation’s past is an important political priority. The DAI researchers make a valuable contribution to intercultural dialogue, which also helps to promote Germany’s standing in the world. It is active not only in countries that have long attracted archaeological interest, but also in crisis regions and conflict zones around the world.

Further information:

ArcHerNet ‑ Archaeological Heritage Network: a network for the preservation of cultural heritage

"Stunde Null": A Future after the Crisis

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