The German Archaeological Institute (DAI) follows an integrative research approach in paradigmatic research projects designed to pursue theory-based lines of inquiry. The range of projects includes a wide variety of formats with regard to duration, methodology, and interdisciplinary constellations.
Characteristic for DAI's project structure is a long-term commitment – spanning more than a hundred years in some cases – at sites like Uruk, Pergamon, and Olympia, also covering the necessary infrastructure such as excavation houses. To these sites – major cities and sanctuaries with a correspondingly complex array of findings and research potential – we bring ever new research questions aimed at understanding the site as an example of fundamental cultural and societal principles characteristic for a certain timeframe of region. This long-term presence in our guest and partner countries plays a key role in establishing and maintaining collaborations built on mutual trust.
DAI's long-term approach does not only include the commitment at particular sites but also long-term projects that pursue complex research inquiries over longer time periods of 10 to 15 years. DAI long-term research projects include those currently under way in Tayma, at Göbekli Tepe, in Milet, and in Abydos. At these sites DAI is pursuing complex archeological research questions that requires the use of a wide range of methods. Due to the wealth of material, fundamental scientific work on editions, e.g. of inscriptions in larger regions, is also usually designed as a long-term project.
Short- and medium-term projects
Specific research questions may also be pursued in short- and medium-term projects. These may include the examination of a particular building complex in a limited excavation or documentation and survey of the building. Minimal-invasive sondages based on geophysical surveys, performed to clarify the chronological and stratigraphic classification, also fall into this category. Projects for the professionalization and qualification of young scholars typically have a medium-term perspective. Moreover, short-termed investigatory and exploratory projects serve to sound out the potential for further in-depth research and to build a basis for new collaborations.
Inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches are increasingly important when it comes to answering complex archeological questions. This includes research collaborations with other disciplines as well as institutions. DAI projects and researchers are therefore involved in and part of numerous research association projects. Organizational models include DFG focus programs, research groups, EU projects, excellence clusters, and many others.
Since 2006, research activities within the DAI have been organized in research clusters pursuing overarching questions in cultural sciences. Since 2014, we have also been integrating research projects to investigate trans-regional research questions.