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Classical Archaeology as a distinct field was first taught at Charles University in 1871, with Otto Benndorf as the first professor. Wilhelm Klein was one of his successors at the German Charles-Ferdinand University. From its earliest foundation, the Institute maintained a museum of plaster casts of ancient sculpture. Today, these casts are displayed at the Gallery of Ancient Art in Hostinné, in the Municipal Museum of Ústí nad Labem, and elsewhere.
After Charles University was divided into two national universities in 1882, Miroslav Tyrš became the first professor of Classical Archaeology with the Czech part. Upon his death, the Institute was further developed by Hynek Vysoký, and later by Jindřich Čadík and Růžena Vacková. The latter two were arrested and sentenced, both during World War 2 and then again by the Communist regime. For more information, see the post-war history of the Institute.
In the 1950s, university reforms saw the Institute bundled together with the departments of Classics and Ancient History to create a large Deparment of Antiquity Studies. In the early 1990s, the Institute became independent once more. Today, studying at the Institute for Classical Archaeology continues the strong tradition from which a number of specialists have gone on to success in Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, in the Czech Republic, or even globally (notably, Jiří Frel). Until recently, the study program was the only accredited program in Classical Archaeology; currently, it is also taught at Masaryk University in Brno.
For more information, see the History of the Institute of Classical Archaeology after World War II
Detailed biographies of former faculty members at the Institute:
Wilhelm Klein (in German)