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Jilin University (JLU)’s teaching and research activities in archaeology dates back to the mid-1950s. The teaching and research office of Archaeology was established in 1962, subordinated to the Department of History. The first bachelor program in archaeology was established in 1972, with Professor Zhang Zhongpei as its principal, and began to enroll undergraduate students in the following year. 1981, JLU became one of the first batch of universities authorized to confer doctorate in archaeology by the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council. The undergraduate program in Museology was launched in May 1985.

In 1987, the Department of Archaeology of Jilin University was founded independently. In 1995, Archaeology and Museology was selected as the National Basic Discipline Talent Training and Scientific Research History Base. In 1995, archaeology and museology, the two time-honoured subjects in Jilin University, were declared as key disciplines of Jilin Province in China.In the same year, the department was selected as the National Personnel Training Base for Basic Scientific Research (history). In 1998, the department was authorized to confer doctorate in history, and listed as the Special Subject Station of the National Fund for Fostering Talents in Basic Science. And in 2000, the department was approved to offer a post-doctoral research station in history. Subsequently, JLU archaeology was listed in the “Project 211”, China’s National Key Discipline Construction Plan.

The Department of Archaeology was incorporated into the College of Humanities in 2001. In 2005, the “Chinese Frontier History and Geography Innovation Base”, based on the subject of Archaeology, was announced as a “Project 985” National Innovation Base of Philosophy and Social Science. In 2007, the two subjects, Archaeology and Museology of Jilin University were added to the list of the National Key Disciplines.Archaeology major ranked the second in the China Discipline Ranking of the Ministry of Education in 2002, 2007 and 2012. In 2017, JLU archaeology was rated A- in the fourth round of discipline evaluation, and in the same year, it was selected in China’s “Double First-Class” Initiative.

The School of Archaeology was officially and independently launched in June, 2018. Jilin University has attached great importance to the construction and development of the School and discipline. The School aims to construct JLU Archaeology with “Chinese characteristics, world-class quality, responsibility, leadership, and unswerving commitment to promoting the cause of Chinese archaeology, and improving the overall strength of Jilin University.”