The fields of early Korean history and archaeology are active and pertinent components of academic programs in Korea, where it is recognized that an understanding and appreciation of the early historical and pre-historical periods are necessary for a proper grasp of Korea in the modern age. While this obvious fact finds ready acknowledgement in English-language scholarship on Korea, the early periods of Korea's history (here defined as prior to the tenth century) are sorely underrepresented in Korean Studies in the Anglophone world.

To help offset this deficiency, the Early Korea Project was established at the Korea Institute, Harvard University, under the direction of Dr. Mark Byington. The Project was officially launched on November 1, 2006, with support from the Academy of Korean Studies and the Korea Foundation, and is based at the Center for Government and International Studies at Harvard University. Present program funding is provided by the Northeast Asian History Foundation.

The mission of the Early Korea Project is to promote and direct the development of academic studies of early Korean history and archaeology in the English language, primarily through lectures, workshops and publications. The Project relies on active relationships with scholars in Korea and the engagement of scholars elsewhere whose research involves early Korea.