The IA’s research is currently structured around the following two major subject:

  • Crises, Turning Points, and Strategies of Survival during the Past 12,000 Years — Responses to Ecological and Social Challenges Through the Millennia

  • Integrating Digital Data — Research Data Repository and Developing the Digital Atlas of Archaeology in Hungary

 1. Emergence and Spread of the Early Farming Societies: The Process of Neolithisation in the Carpathian Basin (6th to 5th Millennium BC)

The multifaceted research of the region’s Neolithic sites, defined as representing the link between South-East and Central Europe, has since long been regarded as a priority research area for the Institute of Archaeology.

The main issues in this field of research address one of the fundamental turning points of human history: the emergence and spread of food-producing farming communities and of sedentism, which simultaneously entailed radical changes in material culture and social organisation, as well as the interaction between human communities and the environment.

The integration of data sets from previous fieldwork and more recent excavations, along with the results of small-area surveys, enables a new level of modelling of the era. The ongoing research projects also serve as a methodological experiment with the aim of harmonising previous models of settlement patterns with the results of the current, constantly evolving research areas such as absolute chronology and archaeogenetics. Past and current research project are conducted through a series of national and international collaborative networks funded by various research grants (DFG, ERC, NRDI).

The implications of a better understanding of the mobility and social organisation of early farming communities are also addressed in the research on mortuary practices and human bioarchaeology. With a regional approach, the dynamics of the settlement system, its role in the neolithisation of Central Europe, its subsequent development, and its connections to both Central Europe and more southerly regions can be demonstrated in the long-term trajectories of roughly a millennium.

Funding of the research

NKFI K-19/132663: Transforming traditions of material culture. Spatial and temporal patterns in pottery style, production and use during the second half of the 6th millennium cal BC in SE-Transdanubia and beyond (2020–2024)  — PI: Tibor Marton

János Bolyai Research Fellowship: Architecture and Society in the Western Carpathian Basin in the First Half of the 5th Millennium BC (2020–2022, 2024–)  — PI: Anett Osztás

 2. Socio-Economic Strategies of Late Copper Age and Bronze Age Societies in the Carpathian Basin (4th to 2nd Millennium BC)

The springboard for this research topic is the complex investigation of the socio-economic transformations in the Late Copper Age and the Bronze Age. This period marks an important milestone in the evolution of political institutions, in the developmental trajectory from socially barely differentiated egalitarian communities to the earliest states, as this era saw the emergence of chiefdom societies. It is also the period when the genetic make-up of modern Europe evolved. One of the greatest challenges of 21st-century research is the storage, interpretation, and dissemination of large and complex scientific datasets (big data). As a response to these new disciplinary challenges, the Lendület “Momentum” BASES Research Group (2023–2028) was established to continue the previous successful Lendület “Momentum” Mobility Lendület “Momentum” Mobility research project (2015–2022). The goal is to expand the already existing archaeological, bioarchaeological, archaeometric, chronological, and settlement network data from this period. New information will be stored in a digital repository (DAAH by IA, see below), making it possible for datasets to be analysed and interpreted in new and innovative ways. These investigations will involve the handling, processing, and modelling of large and complex datasets while exploring poorly understood areas and issues of research. This new research concept will be able to provide a stable foundation for a new synergy of both the domestic and the Central European archaeological disciplines and can potentially lead to the development and implementation of an international research project (ERC) in the future.

Funding of the research

MTA–BTK Lendület “Momentum” BASES Research Group: Bronze Age Socio-Economic Strategies in the Middle Danube Region: a Digital Database (2500–1500 BC) (2023–2028)  — PI: Viktória Kiss

MTA NKM grant: Beyond Borders: Exploring Bronze Age Connections Between the Czech Republic and Western Hungary (2024–2025) — PI: Viktória Kiss

About the program on the project's website

NKFI K-146290: Changes in Life and Death. Bronze Age Communities in Tiszafüred (2024–2028) — PI: Klára P. Fischl 

About the program on the Institute's website  and on 

NKFIH MEC_21 141 321: Őskori erődített települések Közép-Magyarországon (Pest megye)/Prehistoric fortified settlements in Central Hungary (Pest county) (2022–2024)  — PI: Gabriella Kulcsár 

ERC The Yamnaya Impact on Prehistoric Europe (2019–2024) — PI: Volker Heyd, University of Helsinki; Participant: Gabriella Kulcsár

UMO-2020/37/B/HS3/02561: OPUS (37 edition), Poland (2021–2025) — Co-PI: Gabriella Kulcsár

3. On the Frontier of Two Worlds: Rome and the Peoples of the Great Migration

The central aim of this research project is the study and interpretation of the political, cultural, and social processes of the first millennium CE, an era with a decisive impact on world history characterised by the fall and transformation of the Roman world order and its crystallisation into early medieval Europe. The primary goal is to build a comprehensive picture of the political, cultural, and economic processes that shaped the history of the Carpathian Basin during the millennium before the arrival of the Hungarians in the late 9th century CE, with a perspective on the broader socio-cultural contexts.

The research group focuses both on the political and cultural changes that had a decisive impact on the region’s population and on those phenomena that contributed to a certain degree of stability and continuity on the cultural level, with a special focus on Christianity. Key research areas include the study of late Roman Pannonia, with a special emphasis on burial sites and deposits such as the Seuso Treasure, as well as the archaeology of the Hunnic and the Avar periods, and thus the histories of two major steppe societies that have particularly captured the imagination and interest of the wider public in Hungary. To reintegrate local early Christianity into its wider late antique context, a research project studies the emergence of Christian mortuary practices in the Holy Land.

Funding of the research

NKFI K-128237: The Late Roman fortress at Ságvár – Archaeological research 1971–1979 (2018–2024)  — lead researcher: Horváth Friderika

NKFI K 135932: China, Byzantium and the Steppe Peoples in the 6th–10th centuries: Some Cultural Aspects of the Interrelations (2020–2025)  — lead researcher: Bálint Csanád

NKFI PD-138585: Late Roman villa landscape aroun Sopianae. History, economy, culture and lifestyle behind the frontier (2021–2024)  — lead researcher: Szabó Máté

About the program on the Institute's website

NKFI PD-134712: A Germanic group in northern Pannonia in the early Roman Period. The complex archaeological analysis of the cemetery from Vinár-Cseralja (2023–2026) — lead researcher: Soós Eszter

About the program on the Institute's website

Priority Research Theme proposal of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network: Zalavár-Vársziget archaeological excavation and the publication of the Mosaburg/Zalavár series (2021–2025) — lead researcher: Szőke Béla Miklós

Gap-filling Research of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network: Publication of archaeological findcorpus of the Migration Period (2023–2025 — lead researcher: Vida Tivadar

János Bolyai Research Fellowship: "Local Christianities" in the Early Middle Ages: The Carpathian Basin, the Eastern Balkans and the Middle East. Comparative Studies. (2021–2024) — PI: Ádám Bollók

János Bolyai Research Fellowship: Hun-period Burial Pottery in the Carpathian Basin (2019–2021, 2024–2025) — PI: Zsófia Masek

János Bolyai Research Fellowship: The Przeworsk culture in Hungary (2018–2020, 2023–2024) — PI: Eszter Soós

ERC Synergy: HiIstoGenes, Integrating Genetic, Archaeological & Historical Perspectives on Eastern Central Europe 400–900 AD (2020–2026) — PI: Tivadar Vida, ELTE BTK RI; Participants: Ádám Bollók, Gergely Csiky, Zsófia Masek

 4. Centre and Hinterland: Monasteries, Castles, and Settlements in the Medieval Carpathian Basin

The religious, economic, power, and cultural centres of different eras cannot be efficiently studied without an understanding of the broader context of their hinterland. The research project explores this dynamic network of relationships between central places and their periphery, as well as the diverse approaches to their study by examining the monasteries of the Medium Regni within their environment and the Transdanubian castle districts, alongside the structure and landscape context of regional settlement networks. Historical, architectural, and environmental issues related to castles and monasteries, the settlement and road networks of the monastic landscape, and castle estates occupy a prominent place in national and international popular interest and are also important sites for domestic tourism and settlement development. A landscape approach to the study of medieval settlements can be expected to yield valuable results in the fields of water management, climate history, historical ecology, and traditional landscape use as well. The research group addresses the issues of centre and periphery from a local scale to a European perspective, and provides a broad methodological approach that includes the evaluation of historical sources, conducting archaeological excavations, applying non-destructive site diagnostic techniques, and integrating several analytical techniques of the life sciences.

Funding of the research

NKFI K-132030: The life of a frontier region in the time of the establishment of the Hungarian kingdom. Early Árpádian Age Settlements of the Moson Plain, way of life in the light of environmental conditions (2020–2023)  — PI: Miklós Takács 

NKFI K-143099: Castles, settlement system, material culture, 1300-1700 - Complex micro-regional research on the history, landscape history, and archaeology of Transdanubia (2022–2026)  — PI: Gyöngyi Kovács 

About the program on the Institute's website

NKFI K-135383: River, Landscape and Settlement in the Middle Ages: Studies on Landscape Archaeology, Environment History, and Site Dynamics in the Körös Region (2022–2025) — PI: Csilla Zatykó 

About the program on the Institute's website

5. Integrating Research Resources in the Exploration of Micro- and Macro-Historical Trajectories of the Carpathian Basin

The topic covers the comprehensive exploration of the micro- and macro-historical trajectories spanning the last millennia in the Carpathian Basin through the integration of datasets derived from various research projects into a coherent framework. The overarching goal is to build a sustainable model for digitally preserving, sharing, and analysing research data, merging both archived and newly generated datasets into a central data hub and offering their interpretative visualisation, thereby creating an independent level of publication. This strategic project embraces initial efforts to develop the “Digital Archaeological Atlas of Hungary” project. Its scientific inquiry is closely linked to the IA’s broad interdisciplinary research projects, which integrate bioarchaeological, archaeological, chronological, and site-based analytical methods.