The foundation of AIAC in 1945 has to be seen in the context of the lively ferment of cultural renaissance as peaceful international relations were established in post-war Rome. This was an extremely favourable moment for the birth of an organization because of the numerous foreign scholars already present in Rome during the war, and those who would reach it in the footsteps of the allied troops.

Ideally the history of AIAC began in 1823, when four Nordic intellectuals, A. Kestner, O. Magnus von Stackelberg, E. Gerhard and Th. Panofka, met together to read the classics and explore the antiquities of Rome and its neighbourhood, founding the ‘Circle of Hyperborean Romans,’ named for a mythical people found at the edges of the inhabited world.  Within this friendly society, animated by dilettantes and amateurs but inspired by serious scientific interests, there quickly grew a need for a greater diffusion of information about archaeological discoveries.

The project for an international archaeological society, strongly pushed by Gerhard, came to fruition in 1829 when, thanks to the heir to the Prussian throne Frederick Wilhelm, the first Institute of Archaeological Correspondence was founded.  Its principle object was to collect and publish through its own journals (Bollettino Monumenti Inediti, Annali) illustrations of monuments and new discoveries, coming in through an extensive network of corresponding members: a further addition was the creation of catalogues of museum collections.

In time, the Institute, based at Palazzo Cafferelli on the Capitoline Hill, became an important centre for archaeological studies in Rome.  Blessed with a sizable library, in 1871 it was nationalized, becoming one of the scientific institutes of the new German empire and renamed the German Archaeological Institute.

Seventy five years later, the same principle of internationalization of archaeological studies was the basis for the foundation of the International Association for Classical Archaeology (AIAC), that can be considered the spiritual heir of the Institute of Archaeological Correspondence. In 1945, with the adhesion of Dutch, Belgian, and Romanian scholars the project that a little nucleus of Italian, Swiss, American, English and Swedish scholars had elaborated at the end of the previous year was carried out.  This was the creation of an association that would harbour and increase the sentiments of international collaboration and cultural community that was the reply of the scientific community to the horrors of war.

The committee, established the 8th of December 1944, elected as its first president Erik Sjöqvist, director of the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies.  On the 5th of May 1945 AIAC was officially created, with the registration of its by-laws.

The primary activities of AIAC in its first years were the co-ordination and care for the archaeological libraries of Rome and the publication of information through the archaeological communities of all countries involved in Classical Antiquity. The second task was carried out through the publication of the review Fasti Archaeologici. Annual Bulletin of Classical Archaeology, founded by Massimo Pallottino.  The review intended to collect and diffuse in the most complete way possible every new archaeological find, along with resumés of publications.  Ahead of its time was the choice of using English for maximum readership. The series consists of 41 volumes, directed first by Pallottino himself, then by Giovanni Forni from 1957 to 1979 and finally by Maria Floriani Squarciapino between 1982 and 1997.  The print publication was suspended in 1997. Today, the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome preserves the majority of the iconographic material published in the Fasti.  The series was replaced by the Fasti Online and the journal FOLD&R.

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From 1945 to 1953, in the years in which the International Union of the Insitutes of Archaeology, History and Art History was trying to carry out the delicate task of returning to Rome and Florence the libraries of the four German institutes, AIAC took care of the restructuring and updating of the collections (particularly that of the German Institute, whose fate was then in doubt). It also allowed their consultation, up until the time that those institutes were re-established in Rome. The appreciation of scholars, universities, institutes, museums, libraries and publishers for this activity led on the 4th of September 1957. to a decree from the President of the Italian Republic conferring on AIAC the status of non-profit organization

Towards the end of the 1950’s AIAC started to organize the quinquennial International Congresses of Classical archaeology, the first in Rome, followed by Paris, Damascus, Ankara and Smirne, London, Athens, Berlin, Tarragona, Amsterdam, Boston, Rome, Merida, Cologne and Bonn (2018). At the same time AIAC became a member of the Fédération internationale des associations d’études classiques.

From 2014 the AIAC offices are housed at the Roman National Museum at Palazzo Altemps, and its own library joined that of the Museum.  The links between AIAC and the international scientific community are honoured today through prominent activities as the Fasti Online, FOLD&R, and the CIAC congresses

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Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum

Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani

Tabula Imperii Romani


Partner Projects


NAHAN (North African Heritage Archives Network)



2000 – publication of the work of  M. McKinnon, Production and Consumption of Animals in Roman Italy, Journal of Roman Archaeology suppl. n. 54 (2004)


E Billig, ‘Habent sua fata libelli. Swedish notes on the problem of the German scientific libraries in Italy 1943-1948,’ in Opuscula Romana 18, 1990, 221-235, in particular 222-225.

E Billig, C. Nylander, P. Vian (eds), “Nobile munus”. Origini e primi sviluppi dell’Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di Archeologia Storia e Storia dell’Arte in Roma (1946-1953). Per la storia della collaborazione internazionale a Roma nelle ricerche umanistiche nel secondo dopoguerra, Rome 1996, pp. 3-16, 85-86.

G. Carrettoni, ‘Dall’Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica all’Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica,’ in G. Carrettoni, H.G. Kolbe, M. Pavan, eds. L’Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica, Roma 1980, pp. 11-29.

M. Pallottino, ‘Introduzione. Un centro mondiale di cultura umanistica: l’Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di archeologia, storia e storia dell’arte in Roma,’ in P. Vian (ed.), Speculum Mundi. Roma centro internazionale di ricerche umanistiche, Roma 1992, pp. 9-13.

M. Pallottino, ‘L’Assocazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica,’ in P. Vian (ed.), Speculum Mundi. Roma centro internazionale di ricerche umanistiche, Roma 1992, pp. 47-52.

M. Pallottino, ‘Due istituzioni internazionali di studi archeologici e storici in Roma,’ in Scuola e cultura nel mondo 1, 1957, pp. 44-49.

M. Squarciapino, ‘Massimo Pallottino e i Fasti Archeologici,’ in AIACNews 4, Marzo 1995

Scritti in memoriam di Maria Floriani Squarciapino in AIACNews 39-40, Dicembre 2004, pp. 4-12

J.B. Ward-Perkins, ‘The International Union of Institutes of Archaeology, History and History of Art in Rome and the International Association for Classical Archaeology,’ in Aspects des Études Classiques. Actes du Colloque de la F.I.E.C., Bruxelles 1977, pp. 53-59.

O. Brandt, M.T. D’Alessio (eds), Parola di archeologo, Roma 2008.

K. Göransson, ‘Archeologia e scuole straniere a Roma,’ in D. Malfitana (ed.), Archeologia Quo vadis? Riflessioni metodologiche sul futuro di una disciplina, Atti del workshop internazionale Catania 18-19 gennaio 2018, Catania 2018; pp, 211-214.

Frederick Whitling, Western Ways: Foreign Schools in Rome and Athens, Berlin, Boston 2019