The papers collected in this special section of Archaeological Dialogues were first presented at the fifth Symposium on Archaeology and Theory, held in Leiden on January 17th to 19th 1996 under the general heading of The history, theory and methodology of regional archaeological projects. The choice of regional research as the main theme provided the opportunity to discuss current theoretical perspectives on the basis of specific case studies, thus reflecting the concern of Archaeological Dialogues to balance theoretical and practical aspects of archaeology. Through the invitation of archaeologists from various backgrounds and countries across Europe, the diversity of research traditions was not only acknowledged but debate between them was also stimulated. Regional research projects had been chosen because they usually last for a considerable period of time, in the course of which theoretical insights, methodological premises and available techniques are likely to change. In this way, regional projects have repeatedly been suggested to represent a critical element in Dutch archaeology, setting off ‘the Dutch experience’ from developments in both Anglo-American and continental European archaeology (cf. Slofstra 1994; Hodder 1994). The past decades have moreover been especially prolific in generating new theoretical perspectives which may now often coexist with older ones. One of the key issues addressed at the symposium therefore concerned the interaction between changing theoretical and methodological perspectives and the practice of fieldwork. The effects of these relationships were critically assessed by several speakers in the context of a specific regional archaeological project, while others reviewed long-term developments of regional archaeological projects both North and South of the Alps.