History of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI)

On 21 April 1829, a circle of scholars, artists and diplomats founded in Rome the "Instituto di corrispondenza archeologica" for the purpose of studying monuments of ancient art, epigraphy and topography, and publicizing the results of their research. The Prussian Crown Prince and later King Frederick William IV became its patron. When Eduard Gerhard, the actual initiator of the institute, left Rome for Berlin in 1832, the institute continued to operate in Rome but the headquarters moved to Berlin. Prussia took over the regular financing of the institute in 1859. In 1871 it became a Prussian state institute, in 1874 an imperial institute. In the same year a department was founded in Athens. In the 20th century the departments of Cairo, Istanbul, Madrid, Baghdad and Tehran as well as two commissions based in Germany (Frankfurt and Munich) were founded and/or affiliated to the DAI. In 1979, the Commission for the Archaeology of Non-European Cultures (KAAK) in Bonn began its work, and acquired a research centre in Ulan-Bator in 2004. Finally, the branches in Sanaa, Damascus, Lisbon, Ankara and Ingolstadt were established. In 1995, the Eurasia Department was founded to conduct archaeological research in the territory of the CIS states and neighbouring countries; the Tehran Branch was subsequently incorporated into this department, as was the Beijing Branch in 2009. The branches in Baghdad, Damascus and Sanaa became part of the Orient Department in 1996, which is directed from Berlin.


Winckelmann-Medal © DAIThe Winckelmann Medal, the work of German sculptor Edwin Scharff (1887-1955), was instituted to commemorate the centenary of the DAI in 1929 by Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein, himself an honorary member of the institute. The medal is awarded in recognition of special services in the field of archaeology, and has so far been awarded to:

1929 Crown Prince Gustav Adolf, later King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden
The city of Rome
1939 The Greek Archaeological Society, Athens
1969 The city of Frankfurt am Main
1974 The Acropolis Museum, Athens
The National Archaeological Museum, Athens
1979 The city of Berlin
The Austrian Archaeological Institute
Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia
2004 Archaeological Institute of America (announcement of award)


The German Archaeological Institute (DAI) is a »scientific corporation« of the Federal Institution under the auspices of the Foreign Office. The staff of the Institute carries out research in the area of archaeology and in related fields and maintains relations with international scholars.
Furthermore, it organizes congresses, colloquia and tours, and informs the public through the media about its work.  

contact form