of Sciences
Research Centre for the Humanities
Institute of Archaeology

"...Archaeological research was resumed after World War II in the pre-war institutional framework in the Department of Archaeology at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, in the Hungarian National Museum, and in county and city museums.

...The reparation of war damages entailed renovation work at the overwhelming majority of art monuments in Hungary. The renovations also necessitated—and rendered possible— archaeological survey and rescue activities of a, to that date, unknown volume, intensity, and complexity. From the early 1950s, the amount of archaeological rescue work was further increased by oversized industrial investments, regulation of waterways, and major changes in land use. The full capacity of archaeology was shortly engaged in rescue excavations and associated museological duties. As a consequence, problem-oriented research work became almost entirely impossible. Archaeologists realized with increasing concern the growing gap between the historical research maintained in Hungary and their own daily activities.

...In shadow of complete disintegration of archaeological research, the solution was sought by urging, as the jargon of the day had it, the “coordination of theory with practice” in archaeology too. “Coordination of theory with practice” meant, in fact, what we would term to-day problem-oriented archaeological research and it was obvious that problem-oriented research could be optimally carried out in a research institute and not in an educational institution or museum. In this sense, the professional interests of archaeology coincided with the official policy of concentrating research in all branches of natural and social sciences in institutes attached to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (in the following HAS). The institute network of the reorganized Academy was destined to establish centralized political control of scholarship.

...In January 1955, the Section for Social Sciences of the HAS presented to the President the first draft of the foundation document for an archaeological research institute. After lengthy discussions, the tasks of the institute were defined in an improved draft which was submitted for governmental endorsement to the Council of Ministers as follows: “1. The elevation of Hungarian archaeological research to a modern level with the help of a complex archaeological (i.e., scientific) laboratory; 2. Excavations conducted in order to promote solutions to the most important problems in [Hungarian] archaeology. The analysis of the evidence from these excavations and the preparation of comprehensive archaeological monographs is to be achieved in collaboration with experts from other institutions; 3. Centralized recording of excavations and archaeological finds in Hungary.”

...on July 1, 1958 the President of the HAS announced the establishment of the Archaeological Research Group of the HAS.Only a few permanent jobs could be funded, however, and the director himself as well as the majority of the nine founding research fellows of the Research Group continued to occupy part-time positions in the Research Group until the early 1960s. The founding order of the President of the HAS determined the tasks of the Research Group to be the following: “a/ Methodologically exemplary field research with the gradual introduction of moderntechniques; analysis of the finds on the basis of historical materialism; b/ Progressive establishment of the conditions for coordinating and directing archaeological research nationwide; c/ Preparations for the establishment of the Archaeological Institute”."

The history of the Institute was compiled by László Török. The passages are quoted from his work, which can be read in full below:

László Török: The Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences: The first forty-one years, 1958–1999

Founding members of the Institute on December 31, 1968:

László Gerevich Director, László Castiglione Deputy Director, Kornél Bakay, László Barkóczi, Ida Bognár–Kutzián, György Duma, István Erdélyi, Dénes Gabler, Imre Holl, Nándor Kalicz, István Kiszely, Erzsébet Patek, Mihály Párducz, Ágnes Salamon, Eugenia Simon, István Torma, László Török, independent scientists: Nándor Fettich, Imre Lengyel, László Nagy and László Papp.


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