British scholars and academic institutions have been conducting archaeological research in Jordan since the nineteenth century. The work of such pioneers as Claude R. Conder, George and Agnes Horsfield, and Gerald Lankester Harding was followed by that of Kathleen M. Kenyon, Diana Kirkbride, Peter Parr, Crystal-M. Bennett, and many others. In 1978, largely through the efforts of Dame Kathleen Kenyon and Crystal Bennett, the British Academy founded the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History (BIAAH).

The BIAAH sponsors, funds, and provides logistical support for British research on the archaeology, history, languages, ethnography, geography, and natural history of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. It publishes this research through the journal Levant (London, 1969–) which it sponsors jointly with the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, and contributes major reports to the series British Academy Monographs in Archaeology. The BIAAH also presents the work of British research in Jordan through lectures, day-schools, conferences, and exhibitions.

The Institute in Amman provides accommodation and logistical support for visiting individuals and teams. Its library, photographic archive, and reference collections of pottery and animal bones are open to all scholars and students.

The BIAAH sponsors numerous archaeological, epigraphic, paleoenvironmental, ethnographic, historical, and other research projects in Jordan and Syria, covering all periods from the prehistoric to the Islamic. These have included excavations at prehistoric sites in and around Azraq, at Tell Iktanu, Tell Hammam, and Tell esh-Shuna (North), in the Jordan Valley, at the Islamic site of Khirbet Faris near Kerak, and at Tell Nebi Mend/Qadesh and Jerablus-Taḥtani in Syria. Archaeological surveys have been undertaken in the basalt desert and Edom; and epigraphic surveys in the basalt desert and in Wadi Ram. In recent years the BIAAH has also sponsored much ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological work.

Membership of the BIAAH is open to all. Members receive Levant and/or the BIAAH Newsletter, have priority in the use of the institute's hostel and equipment and are charged at a reduced rate.

M. C. A. Macdonald