This issue of Archaeology International marks the Institute’s 80th Anniversary. The Institute was founded in 1937 and started life in an elegant villa in Regents Park. Now it is housed in a 1950s building on Gordon Square, close to the centre of UCL. The anniversary has been celebrated in a number of ways from the academic to the light hearted. Some are reported in this issue, including the generous gift of a replica terracotta warrior from the Museum of Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum, Xi’an, China; the digitising of all the editions of Gordon Childe’s influential book ‘The Dawn of European Civilisation’, and the compilation of a Spotify playlist featuring songs and music with archaeological associations! These celebrations typify not only the Institute’s long history, but its international links, and its friendly and egalitarian atmosphere.

That it is an exciting place in which to study and work is highlighted in the features and articles in this issue. In her report our Director, Professor Sue Hamilton, reviews the activities and achievements of staff and students, and the honours awarded to them during the last year. The News section describes what it is like to be a student today, details some of the books published in the last year, and maps the projects that staff are involved in throughout the world. Of course much of the issue is devoted to papers on the Institute’s extraordinary variety of research – and they make fascinating reading. Topics covered in this issue range from flint mines to museums; from human bones to Chinese ceramics; from goldwork to plants and soils; and from the origins of Stonehenge to the writings of Gordon Childe.

This is the last issue for which I have been editor. Having spent almost all of my career at the Institute until my retirement, I have enjoyed the continuing contact with colleagues, and with everything the Institute stands for, that being editor has provided. I am most grateful to all the staff, students, associates, and alumni who have contributed to Archaeology International over the last four years. Carolyn Rando, Chiara Bonacchi and Charlene Murphy gave me invaluable support during the first three issues. For this issue they handed over to Jenni French, Barney Harris and Alice Stevenson who have been equally supportive. Anastasia Sakellariadi has continued as Editorial Manager (at Ubiquity) and Marion Cutting has continued to help with both ‘Bookshelf’ and ‘A Global Perspective on the Past’. My warmest thanks go to all of them, and I wish my successor as editor every success.