The posterior auricular artery is part of the circulatory system of the head and face.
The posterior auricular artery emerges at the back of the jaw and runs below the parotid (salivary) gland; it then moves upward, behind the ear, on the temporal bones at the sides of the head. It supplies blood to the visible part of the ear and to the scalp behind the ear. The occipital branch of the posterior auricular artery supplies blood to the occipitalis muscle, located at the back of the skull, and the scalp behind and above the ear. It eventually merges with the occipital artery.
The posterior auricular artery is a branch of the external carotid artery, one of the major arteries of the head. The external carotid arises from the common carotid artery, which emerges from the heart.