The institution of the School in 1979-80, thanks to the efforts of Cosimo Damiano Fonseca, then Head of the Faculty of Humanities, represents the point of arrival of a project that Attilio Stazio and others had strongly advocated in previous years. Thus began a new phase of development of the Cultural Heritage sector at the University of Lecce that led to a more intense and organised engagement in the creation of laboratories and fieldwork. The most significant result of this process was the creation in 1996 of the Faculty of Cultural Heritage on which the School depends today.

Giovanni Pugliese Carratelli, ex director of the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, held the opening speech, on February 6th 1980, for the inauguration of the 1st academic year with a lecture on “History and archaeological reality”.

The first Director of the School was CosimoDamiano Fonseca until 1984, then Dinu Adamesteanu until 1988. From 1988 to 2013, Francesco D’Andria was director, and the School saw two major changes in the statutes and teaching. The current Director is Paul Arthur, elected in 2013. The new academic year has been opened with an inaugural speech on “The making of the Middle Sea” by Cyprian Broodbank, internationally renowned archaeologist, professor at University College London and recently elected to the Disney Chair at the University of Cambridge.

By resolution of the Senate in March 29th 2004, the school was dedicated to DinuAdamesteanu, a few months after his death, for the prestige of his figure as an archaeologist and his ability to involve students in fieldwork.