The Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology (Baltijos regiono istorijos ir archeologijos institutas, BRIAI) is one of the most highly regarded centres for research and study into the history, archaeology and cultural heritage in Lithuania. It has particular strengths in the fields of underwater archaeology, mediaeval archaeology and modern cultural, social, and military history of the eastern part of Baltic Region. The Institute is part of the dynamic and ambitious Klaipėda University with a distinctive mission to be an internationally recognized centre for the Baltic Sea region research.
BRIAI carries on the work of the former Centre for West Lithuanian and Prussian History, founded in 1992 by two outstanding Lithuanian scholars, historian Alvydas Nikžentaitis and archaeologist Vladas Žulkus. It actively pursues research on both national and international scale in the historical and archaeological sciences and aims to foster co-operation with other academic and cultural institutions across the Baltic Sea area. The mission of the Institute is to raise the profile of Baltic region history and archaeology generally through its range of distinctive research activities, teaching programmes, numerous events, and publications.
The Institute concentrates its research on studying the pluricultural heritage of the Eastern Baltic Region between the Vistula and Daugava (Western Dvina) rivers within the context of the Baltic region as a whole. Through its links to many other institutions, museums, societies and organizations research carried out in the Institute is integrated into the context of historical and archaeological studies within the region and presents culturally distinct areas to a broader European audience.
The Institute has more than 20 research active staff and supervises a lively group of over 15 doctoral students who employ various theories and methodologies to analyse social and cultural developments in the Baltic Region from prehistoric times to the present day. Currently, the Institute offers a number of undergraduate, masters, and research degrees. Its taught programmes include a variety of courses, both theoretical and practical, covering a diverse array of topics related to the East European and Baltic past and designed for aspiring historians and archeaologists at various stages in their carrier – the B.A. in History; the B.A. in Archaeology; the M.A. in Baltic History; and the M.A. in Landscape Archaeology.
The Institute’s scholars have an outstanding record of publication including monographs issued by Cambridge University Press, Brill, Harrassowitz, and other established publishers, research studies, source publications, collections of papers, papers in peer-reviewed journals, publications in cultural or professional journals and periodicals. The Institute is also the publisher of two international peer-reviewed research series dedicated to historical and archaeological research respectively: Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis (est. 1993) and Archaeologia Baltica (est. 1995).