Commissions, departments, branches and research facilities

The DAI is comprised of eleven major units: the Head Office in Berlin, three commissions and seven departments. Five branches are currently affiliated with these departments and commissions: Tehran, Sana'a, Baghdad, Damascus and Beijing. The DAI has other important though not permanently staffed research facilities in Lisbon and Ulaanbaatar. Completing the list of forms of global cooperation, there are also individual offices, for example in Aksum, Ethiopia, and dig houses maintained at several sites. Cooperation furthermore exists with the German Protestant Institute (DEI) in Jerusalem and Amman regarding the joint implementation of projects; since 2005 the DEI has been "simultaneously a research unit of the German Archaeological Institute". Thanks to its adaptable structures and research programmes the DAI is able to react flexibly to new challenges in science and cultural policy.

Core areas by geographical region and discipline

In line with an archaeology conceived globally, the profile of the departments and commissions is structured according to geographical area of responsibility. These geographical areas, however, are not defined by modern national frontiers but reflect ancient cultural regions, which in turn had different contours in the various successive phases of early human history. In view of this, research into these cultural regions requires constant and willing collaboration between the various departments and commissions operating in the respective regions.

Alone among departments and commissions, the Head Office in Berlin has a profile that is not defined by geographical competency. Instead core areas in the disciplines of architectural history, natural sciences, scientific IT as well as the protection of cultural resources and site management make up its scientific profile in the form of cross-departmental working groups.

Overview of research units with their geographical & cultural core areas:

  • Rome Department: Italy with neighbouring areas in North Africa (Tunisia, Libya, Algeria)
  • Athens Department: Greece with neighbouring areas
  • Istanbul Department: Anatolia
  • Madrid Department with a research facility in Lisbon: Iberian Peninsula, North Africa
  • Commission Munich: Latin and Greek epigraphy, numismatics of the Mediterranean region
  • Cairo Department: Nile valley and the adjoining desert areas in Egypt, the Libyan desert, Nubia
  • Orient Department: Arabian Peninsula, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Ethiopia
  • DAI research unit with the DEI: Jordan, Israel, Palestine
  • RGK, Frankfurt: Europe, with a current core area in East and Central Europe
  • Eurasia Department: countries of the former Soviet Union, from Moldova in the west to Siberia in the east including the Southern Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) and Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan); China
  • KAAK, Bonn: non-European archaeology with a main focus on South America, Africa, Oceania, South and East Asia

Overview of cross-departmental working groups at the Head Office:

  • Division of Building Archaeology (building documentation, reconstructions, construction history)
  • Natural Sciences Unit (anthropology, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, dendrochronology)
  • IT Unit (scientific IT, development of digital research environments)
  • Cultural Resources Protection and Site Management

The ancient cultural regions imply a certain discipline specialization among research staff working in them. The organization of research profiles according to geographical cultural regions nevertheless has the effect above all of enhancing region-based interdisciplinarity between the various historical and methodological specializations of archaeological and cultural historical disciplines to an extent that does not occur in a university environment.