Jerusalem holds many of the world's unique religious and archaeological places. Since the 19th century a number of foreign institutes have based their investigations of Palestine's cultural heritage in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, no indigenous Palestinian institute has existed to support studying their own archaeological heritage. To meet this challenge, several Palestinian Academics took the initiative and founded an Institute to help fill that gap. The “Institute of Islamic Archaeology” founded in 1992 with the support of MadamHind Al-Husseini, located in the complex of Dar Al-Tifl “a local Palestinian academic association for orphan children in Jerusalem”. The Institute of Islamic Archaeology was thefirst local institution to provide an M.A degree in the field of Islamic Archaeology. Dr.Yasmin Zahran was the first director of the Institute.
In 1996 the Institute was moved from Dar Al-Tifl and annexed to the Programs of Al-Quds University, and the location of the Institute was moved to the University Campus in Ramallah. In a separate line, a minor program in archaeology for undergraduate students of history was developed jointly with the Department of History in the Faculty of the Arts in the University campus in Beith Hanina in 1997. This Program developed into a full undergraduate program in archaeology in 2000. Several Students were jointly enrolled in this program and the graduate program.
In 2005, the University Academic council decided to 1) enlarge the programs in graduate studies to deal with further themes in archaeology and cultural heritage, 2) change the name of the Institute from the Institute of Islamic Archaeology to the Institute of Archaeology, and 3) unite the graduate and the undergraduate programs within the Institute of Archaeology on the University Campus in Abu Dies.