The German Archaeological Institute of Madrid (IAA)The German Archaeological Institute (IAA) is a scientific institution belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt). Its presence in Spain dates back to 1943. Despite the difficult times that followed the Spanish Civil War, and in the midst of World War II, the archaeologist specialized in the early Middle Ages, Helmut Schlunk, who was barely thirty years old, he managed to found a small archaeological library accessible to his colleagues. Schlunk managed to house it in what was then called the German Cultural Institute, where it could be open to the public. However, shortly before the end of World War II, all the international departments of the DAI were closed, and the recently founded Madrid headquarters had to be closed abruptly.

The institute reopened its doors on March 2, 1954. Helmut Schlunk was appointed director. The strong personality and scientific probity of Helmut Schlunk were decisive for the broad activity of the Department and for its recognition in the countries he visited. The broad spectrum of research, ranging from the origins of humanity to the Islamic Middle Ages, was also supported by the following directors, Wilhelm Grünhagen, Hermanfrid Schubart and Thilo Ulbert, in a line of work that continues to the present day under the Directed by Dirce Marzoli.

The unit in Lisbon, founded in 1971, had to be closed in 1999 for financial reasons. The library passed as an indefinite loan to the Institute of Management of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage in Lisbon.

Since 1954, the Madrid Institute has its headquarters in “El Viso”, in two buildings erected in 1933/1934 following the Bauhaus style. Both are owned by the German state. One serves as a guest house and houses the photo lab. In the other are the offices, the library and the photo library. In 2004, the 50th anniversary of the Department was celebrated in style. The highlight of the celebrations was the exhibition held at the San Isidro Museum, which was sponsored by the German Embassy in Madrid.

The IAA has its headquarters in Berlin, as well as various commissions and departments both in Germany and abroad. It conducts archaeological excavations and research and promotes relationships with the entire international scientific community.