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This double issue of Archaeology International is published on the eve of the Institute of Archaeology’s 75th anniversary year and its ‘new look’ represents a re-launch on the occasion of this milestone in its life. Our first duty is therefore to record the Institute’s heartfelt thanks to Ruth Whitehouse for having edited the last three issues (Nos 10–12), in the footsteps of Ken Thomas (No. 9), who had taken over for one issue (2005–06) from the founding editor, David Harris.

When David Harris launched AI, with its first issue for 1997–98, he described in his ‘Introduction’ (p. 2) how it was intended not only to replace the Institute’s annual Bulletin, but also to serve a similar purpose to that of the old Annual Reports which had been required by the University of London. Its main purpose was, however, ‘to keep its readers up to date with the Institute’s diverse research activities, as they develop year by year’.

From the beginning AI contained lists of academic staff and research students and their interests, as also (from issue No. 2) annual reports of the activities of ‘The Institute’s primary Research Groups’, which were established under the directorship of Peter Ucko. But just as AI came into being as a result of a review of the changed context of the Institute in the 1990s (following its incorporation into UCL in 1986), the new millennium has witnessed further developments which have in turn influenced this re-launch of AI.

As described in the ‘Director’s Report’, the Institute launched a new website in 2009 which contains much of the information previously only available in print in AI – and its updates serve to keep everyone in touch with the activities of its staff and students, including those of the three new ‘Sections’ (World Archaeology, Archaeological Sciences and Heritage Studies) which have been set up to replace the five previous ‘Research Groups’.

The space freed up by not duplicating the information about the Institute available on the website has been used to increase the space allocated to the main articles and for a section of shorter news items. This is in addition to an increase in space devoted to the Institute’s global fieldwork presence – and the introduction of a ‘Bookshelf’ section to highlight recent publications. We are most grateful to Letty Ten Harkel for her work on mapping the Institute’s fieldwork and to Ruth Whitehouse for contributing to the ‘Bookshelf’. Both sections have been overseen by the Assistant Editor, Andrew Reynold. Another innovation is ‘IoA People and Places’, being a combination of alumni reflections and a selection of photographs ‘From the Archives’.

We are most grateful to all our colleagues who have given their time to report on their activities. One feature which emerges strongly from the news items and articles published here is the emphasis, which has developed some prominence in the work of the Institute during the past decade, on ‘Widening Participation in Archaeology’ – through ‘Outreach’ activities.

On a personal note, I must conclude by expressing my gratitude not only to Andrew Reynolds for his work as Assistant Editor, but also to Institute graduate student, Brian Hole, who has helped to design AI’s ‘new look’ and layed out this issue.