KPJRI was fortunate to have the late A.S. Altekar, an eminent historian and inspiring leader, as its first director. Under his able and enlightened guidance, the academic programmes and activities of the institute took a concrete and definite shape. Subsequently, the institute has been led by reputed scholars such as K.K. Dutta, S. H. Askari, B.P. Sinha, A.L. Thakur, J.S. Jha, P.N. Ojha,, J.C. Jha and Dr. J.Pandey.
Currently under the directorship of Dr. Bijoy Kumar Chaudhary, the institute has made valuable and commendable contributions in the field of research, publications and archaeological works.