This issue of Archaeology International provides an insight into the character of UCL Institute of Archaeology: something of its history as one of the earliest university archaeology departments; something of what it is like to be a student now; and something of the varied range of research which is undertaken by staff and students. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Our Director, Professor Sue Hamilton, provides a rich picture of the activities of Institute staff and students. She reports on the many ways in which staff have been recognised: through promotion; grants for new and innovative research; teaching awards; national and international prizes; and other honours. She details awards to research students, the international conferences at which staff and students have contributed papers, and some of the changes, such as new labs, which will influence future work.

The history of the Institute is represented in short obituaries for some of the distinguished archaeologists associated with the Institute who have died, sadly, during this past year. Several started their involvement in archaeology as students in the very earliest days of the Institute, and two of them played an important part, as staff, in shaping the Institute.

A lively picture of what it is like to be a student today is given in the item entitled ‘Studying… Past and Present’ which includes comments from current students about their experience at the Institute, and reminiscences of two relatively recent graduates who describe how their careers have developed.

Much of the issue is devoted to the Institute’s varied and exciting research – ranging from the study of early agriculture of rice through to evaluating the role of the museum shop, and from developing an inventory of built heritage in Bhutan to exploring the effects of the past on social thinking in the UK today. Several papers show the importance of scientific techniques in expanding our understanding of the past, such as: tracing technological similarities through analysis of early metal artifacts; identification of disease in post-medieval human bones; dating buildings through dendrochronology; and use of survey techniques such as unmanned aerial vehicle photomapping and ground penetrating radar.

I am most grateful to all the Institute staff, students, associates, and alumni who have contributed to this issue. Once again my warmest thanks go to Carolyn Rando and Chiara Bonacchi as Assistant Editors, Charlene Murphy as Copy Editor, and Anastasia Sakellariadi as Editorial Manager (at Ubiquity) for their invaluable help and support, and to Marion Cutting for her help with both ‘Bookshelf’ and ‘A Global Perspective on the Past’.