The first archaeological excavations in Azerbaijan began to take place in the second half of the 19th century. The artifacts found were exported to Russia and European countries. Materials exported in Germany in the 1980s were published in a book entitled “Kalakent”.
The 20th century was a period of renewal for Azerbaijan national archeology. In 1920–1940, the first scientific/research structures were established in the country which focused on the study of the cultural/historical heritage of the Azerbaijan nation and first professional Azerbaijani archeologist cadres appeared.
Archeological research projects carried out in the 1940s at a hydroelectric power plant site were a turning point in the archeology of the Caucasus when more than 20,000 artifacts were found. At that time, a research into Gobustan petroglyphs and the Azykh cave resting place was initiated. In the 1950s, extensive exploratory work in Beylagan, an Azerbaijan medieval city, burial mounds in the Milska Steppe and the city of Kabala took place. In the 1960s, the number of archeologists increased; large-scale, complex expeditions originated and in many rayons archeological bases were built.
In the 1960s–1980s explorations in Azerbaijani medieval towns were significantly expanded. At that time, the Underwater Archaeological Expedition of the National Museum of History of Azerbaijan was actively working.
Today, the rapidly growing economic potential of the Republic of Azerbaijan allows expanding archaeological surveys. Thanks to the state subsidy, since the 21st century the scope of field surveys has been increasing. The number of expeditions has been increasing, as well, their material and technical background has been improving along with their fieldwork methodology. Today, approximately 40 expeditions and groups work on field archeological explorations. They focus on relics from the Paleolithic period until the Late Middle Ages.
The results obtained by long-term international archeological expeditions are also interesting. These expeditions include the following teams: Azerbaijani-French, Azerbaijani-Georgian-German, Azerbaijani-Japanese, Azerbaijani-Norwegian, Azerbaijani-South Korean.