European Convention for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage of Europe

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European Convention for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage of Europe


Definition of the archaeological heritage

Article 1

The aim of this (revised) Convention is to protect the
archaeological heritage as a source of the European collective
memory and as an instrument for historical and scientific study.

To this end shall be considered to be elements of the
archaeological heritage all remains and objects and any other
traces of mankind from past epochs:

i the preservation and study of which help to retrace the
history of mankind and its relation with the natural

ii for which excavations or discoveries and other methods of
research into mankind and the related environment are the
main sources of information; and

iii which are located in any area within the jurisdiction of the

The archaeological heritage shall include structures,
constructions, groups of buildings, developed sites, moveable
objects, monuments of other kinds as well as their context,
whether situated on land or under water.

Identification of the heritage and measures for protection

Article 2

Each Party undertakes to institute, by means appropriate to the
State in question, a legal system for the protection of the
archaeological heritage, making provision for:

i the maintenance of an inventory of its archaeological
heritage and the designation of protected monuments and

ii the creation of archaeological reserves, even where there
are no visible remains on the ground or under water, for the
preservation of material evidence to be studied by later

iii the mandatory reporting to the competent authorities by a
finder of the chance discovery of elements of the
archaeological heritage and making them available for

Article 3

To preserve the archaeological heritage and guarantee the
scientific significance of archaeological research work, each
Party undertakes:

i to apply procedures for the authorisation and supervision of
excavation and other archaeological activities in such a way

a to prevent any illicit excavation or removal of
elements of the archaeological heritage;

b to ensure that archaeological excavations and
prospecting are undertaken in a scientific manner and
provided that:

— non-destructive methods of investigation are applied
wherever possible;
— the elements of the archaeological heritage are not
uncovered or left exposed during or after excavation
without provision being made for their proper
preservation, conservation and management;

ii to ensure that excavations and other potentially destructive
techniques are carried out only by qualified, specially
authorised persons;

iii to subject to specific prior authorisation, whenever
foreseen by the domestic law of the State, the use of metal
detectors and any other detection equipment or process for
archaeological investigation.

Article 4

Each Party undertakes to implement measures for the physical
protection of the archaeological heritage, making provision, as
circumstances demand:

i for the acquisition or protection by other appropriate means
by the public authorities of areas intended to constitute
archaeological reserves;

ii for the conservation and maintenance of the archaeological
heritage, preferably in situ;

iii for appropriate storage places for archaeological remains
which have been removed from their original location.

Integrated conservation of the archaeological heritage

Article 5

Each Party undertakes:

i to seek to reconcile and combine the respective requirements
of archaeology and development plans by ensuring that
archaeologists participate:

a in planning policies designed to ensure well-balanced
strategies for the protection, conservation and
enhancement of sites of archaeological interest;

b in the various stages of development schemes;

ii to ensure that archaeologists, town and regional planners
systematically consult one another in order to permit:

a the modification of development plans likely to have
adverse effects on the archaeological heritage;

b the allocation of sufficient time and resources for an
appropriate scientific study to be made of the site and
for its findings to be published;

iii to ensure that environmental impact assessments and the
resulting decisions involve full consideration of
archaeological sites and their settings;

iv to make provision, when elements of the archaeological
heritage have been found during development work, for their
conservation in situ when feasible;

v to ensure that the opening of archaeological sites to the
public, especially any structural arrangements necessary for
the reception of large numbers of visitors, does not
adversely affect the archaeological and scientific character
of such sites and their surroundings.

The financing of archaeological research and conservation

Article 6

Each Party undertakes:

i to arrange for public financial support for archaeological
research from national, regional and local authorities in
accordance with their respective competence;

ii to increase the material resources for rescue archaeology:

a by taking suitable measures to ensure that provision is
made in major public or private development schemes for
covering, from public sector or private sector
resources, as appropriate, the total costs of any
necessary related archaeological operations;

b by making provision in the budget relating to these
schemes in the same way as for the impact studies
necessitated by environmental and regional planning
precautions, for preliminary archaeological study and
prospection, for a scientific summary record as well as
for the full publication and recording of the findings.

Collection and dissemination of scientific information

Article 7

For the purpose of facilitating the study of, and dissemination
of knowledge about, archaeological discoveries, each Party

i to make or bring up to date surveys, inventories and maps of
archaeological sites in the areas within its jurisdiction;

ii to take all practical measures to ensure the drafting,
following archaeological operations, of a publishable
scientific summary record before the necessary comprehensive
publication of specialised studies.

Article 8

Each Party undertakes:

i to facilitate the national and international exchange of
elements of the archaeological heritage for professional
scientific purposes, while taking appropriate steps to
ensure that such circulation in no way prejudices the
cultural and scientific value of those elements;

ii to promote the pooling of information on archaeological
research and excavations in progress and to contribute to
the organisation of international research programmes.

Promotion of public awareness

Article 9

Each Party undertakes:

i to conduct educational actions with a view to rousing and
developing an awareness in public opinion of the value of
the archaeological heritage for understanding the past and
of the threats to this heritage;

ii to promote public access to important elements of its
archaeological heritage, especially sites, and encourage the
display to the public of suitable selections of
archaeological objects.

Prevention of the illicit circulation of elements of the
archaeological heritage




See Also

References and Further Reading

About the Author/s and Reviewer/s

Author: international

Mentioned in these Entries

Cultural Protection conventions, European Convention for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage of Europe 2, International Conventions from 1991.

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