90th anniversory of foundation of the Institute of Archaeology

from the history of the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague

The Institute of Archaeology, Prague was founded in 1919 as the State Institute of Archaeology within the framework of the Ministry of Schools and National Education. In 1953 was incorporated into the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and since 1992 it forms part of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic.

The Institute of Archaeology, which is based in Prague, comprises of the largest group of professional archaeologists in the Czech Republic. Topics of their studies range across the complete spectrum of archaeological subjects that provide the evidence for human activity and social development, within the territory of the Czech Republic, from the Palaeolithic to the early modern times. The archaeological resources utilised in these studies cover portable objects, individual sites, and also cultural landscapes. During field and theoretic research great attention is devoted to the application of a variety of methodological approaches and potentials. Emphasis is also placed on the interdisciplinary cooperation, especially in the field of natural and historical sciences.

The Institute of Archaeology has traditionally been a publisher of professional and specialized reports and papers published in both monographs and scientific journals. An extensive library and the systematic creation of a bibliographic and litrature information archives housed within the Institute, formed one of the most complete data resources for both the professional and lay public in the Central Europe. The work of the library and its archives was abruptly terminated by extensive and deep flooding, in 2002, of the old Prague city centre, where the buildings of the Institute are located. This natural disaster virtually destroyed a greater part of the library’s collection and its associated archive material.

Another important responsibility of the Institute is its involvement in the protection of ancient and historical monuments as a part of the national archaeological heritage policy formulated by the Czech goverment. In this shpere the Institute plays a prominant part in advising on the formulation of new legislation. In its role of archaeological representative for the Czech Republic the Institute has forged links with a numer of international archaeological organisations and is deeply commited to the European perspective of the future of archaeology and many members of the Institute are active members of the European Archaeological Association. On a more local, public and social level the Institute concerns itself with the disemination of information concerning the monuments of the Republic and this is combined with the excavation and documentation of threatened sites, the organization of scientific conferences, public competitions and in the popularization of archaeology through public lectures and exhibitions.

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