Prehistoric art in an orange hue shows animal and human figures.

Archaeological Heritage Policies and Management Structures

The commission has planned its lines of work by reasoning on current trends regarding the perception of prehistoric and protohistoric cultural heritage, current problems of protection, management, use and valorization of museums and archaeological areas and the need to disseminate scientific information to everyone in an accessible way.

A top-down photogrammetric overview of an archaeological excavation.

Archaeological Methods and Theory: Formalization, Quantification, Mathematics and Computerization

This multidisciplinary group aims to develop general theory and methods for producing and validating archaeological knowledge. It covers a wide range of topics, including formalization of archaeological problems, ontologies, mathematical modeling, statistical studies, geographic information systems, excavation methods, chronology, taphonomic studies, and many others. The commission is also concerned with the recording and archiving of archaeological data, as well as the critical study of archaeological paradigms.

An infographic detailing aspects of archaeometry.

Archaeometry of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Inorganic Artefacts, Materials and their Technologies

The commission aims at discussing and transmitting the archaeometric approaches to technologies in Prehistory and Protohistory concerning lithic technology, metallurgy, ceramics and glass making; gathering and organizing the results, conclusions and circumstances of archaeometric case studies of artifacts; paying particular attention to production, procurement and characterization of raw materials, and fabrication technologies; discussing relevant interdisciplinary investigation methods and techniques.

A group of people pose together for a photograph.

Art and Civilizations in the Sahara during Prehistoric Times

The commission considers the Sahara region in its maximum extension, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Within this context, the commission aims to provide an overview of the research carried out in the territory, and to organize periodic meetings for the exchange of information on key issues, such as Holocene climate and environment, cultural interactions, rock art and the cognitive world of North African regions during prehistory.

A word cloud relating to biological anthropology.

Biological Anthropology

This commission, composed of a worldwide group of scholars, aims at discussing and sharing information about all the disciplines related to biological anthropology. The principal goals of the commission are to divulge new discoveries, discuss new theories and share innovative methodologies correlated to the study of human extinct and extant populations in a biological and evolutionary perspectives.

An artistic impression of a prehistoric encampment with various butchery and craft activities being undertaken.

Final Palaeolithic of Northern Eurasia

The commission aims to promote and organize research on the Final Palaeolithic of Northern Eurasia. The focus in this is on the development of hunter-gatherers adapted to the more temperate conditions of the Late Glacial and Early Postglacial periods, as well as on their expansion into previously uninhabited areas.

UISPP Flint Mining commission logo.

Flint Mining in European Prehistory and Protohistory

The commission aims to develop research on siliceous rock mining, discussing and presenting methods and results. It focuses on various aspects, including the different stages of manufacturing, labour specialization, circulation of raw materials and investigation of flint mining sites belonging to pre- and protohistoric settlement networks. 

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Functional Studies of Prehistoric Artefacts and their Socio-Economic Significance

The work of the commission is devoted to the comprehensive development of experimental and traceological studies of ancient technologies and functions of tools of labor of different prehistoric periods. Its goal is to further improve the methods of traceological analysis through the exchange of new information between specialists in this field of archaeology.

A black and white photograph of an archaeologist standing in a large excavation trench.

History of Archaeology

The aims of the History of Archaeology commission are to encourage and support historical research on the history of prehistoric and protohistoric archaeology, all over the world and at any time. This commission is, by definition, interdisciplinary: it offers a research space at the interface between the archaeological and history-of-science research communities.

A group of people gather together for a photograph.

Human Occupation of Mountain Environments

Mountain archaeology is a branch of archaeological research which investigates the interaction between human communities and mountain landscapes in different periods. The rapid development of mountain archaeology is related to the recent acknowledgment that high-elevation landscapes have played an important, sometimes pivotal, role in shaping major processes in human (pre)history.

An aerial photograph showing circular and square enclosure cropmarks.

Landscape Archaeology

The commission aims to build an understanding of long-term processes of human adaptation to changing environmental and anthropogenic circumstances. It provides critical perspectives and key insights that contribute to multiple disciplines, such as history, geography, and engineering, which are integral to coping with current global challenges. The commission also studies the impact of inherited practices and social organization on the landscape and promotes new techniques such as GIS, remote sensing, and 3D tools. It contributes to global challenges such as resilience in landscape management, sustainable development and urbanism.

A photograph of two prehistoric stone tools.

Lower Palaeolithic

The work of the commission focuses on the Lower Palaeolithic period in Africa and Eurasia, between 1.8 million and 200,000 years ago. Its objective is to foster collaboration among teams and researchers to invigorate the field, promote publications, and organize workshops. The commission brings together experts in lithic technology and faunal remains, drawing on fieldwork at major excavation sites.

A selection of prehistoric metal blades.

Metal Ages in Europe and the Mediterranean

The commission provides a forum for the exchange of information and scholarly discussion relating to the Chalcolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages in Europe and the Mediterranean. The commission’s work covers all aspects of research in the relevant periods, including chronology, material culture, settlements, burials, etc.

UISPP Modified Bone and Shell commission logo.

Modified Bone and Shell

This commission brings together specialists to demonstrate the importance of bone artifacts in understanding pre- and protohistoric cultures and societies. Besides their contribution to the understanding of economies, crafts, beliefs and religions, the commission’s work is also concerned with the intrinsic, symbolic and aesthetic value of the artefacts, the nature of the assemblages, as well as the technological aspects involved.

A bronze prehistoric metal object in the shape of a human head.

Mortuary Practices in Prehistory and Protohistory

We bring together scholars and encourage debate on topics belonging to the large and intricate field of ritual practices in Prehistory and Protohistory, with an emphasis on funerary archaeology and the study of cult places. The commission deals broadly with archaeological vestiges and processes belonging to the wider Eurasian cultural milieu, but we have been focusing more closely on Eastern and Central Europe, the Balkan Peninsula, Greece, and Western Anatolia, as a space of early contacts and interactions for people during the Metal Ages, in the context of emerging state and pre-state formations.

Four stylistically different illustrations of a bull in black and white.

Prehistoric Art

Rock art is one of the most striking and fragile legacies of prehistoric societies. Open-air, caves and rock shelters sites were decorated around the world during prehistoric times and UNESCO has repeatedly recognized their heritage value as the first examples of the art of humanity. This commission is conceived as a place for discussion, reflexion and collaboration on the research, preservation, and dissemination of prehistoric rock art.

An aerial photograph of a large archaeological excavation.

Preventive Archaeology

The aim of our commission’s activities is to exchange information and foster discussion about, broadly defined, preventive archaeology. One focus is on developing a modern understanding of the protection of archaeological heritage. The second is on rescue excavations of archaeological sites in development-led archaeology.

UISPP Pryoarchaeology commission logo.


A map of south-east Asia showing a prehistoric configuration of landmasses.

Southeast Asia: Human Evolution, Dispersals and Adaptations

The commission focuses on the study of human evolution, dispersals, and adaptations throughout prehistory in the Southeast Asian region. It aims to understand the past conditions of the region, which can play a significant role in our understanding of contemporary effects of environmental change, natural disasters, resource depletion, and problems connected to coastal management.

A group of people stand together for a photograph.

Upper Palaeolithic of Eurasia

The commission is concerned with all aspects of the Upper Paleolithic populations and civilizations all across the European continent and northern Asia: technologies, art, dwelling structures, economy. We reguarly organize meetings and symposiums where we all share our results. Most of the time the proceedings are immediately published in international outlets (ERAUL especially). Our meetings help to maintain close relations between our members and allow us exchanging new data and ideas.