The American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Other Information Regarding Permits

A. Guidelines for Importing Archaeological Equipment into Greece

In order to import archaeological equipment into Greece, scholars or project directors are asked to get and fill out a Carnet or ATA Carnet. Please link to: Carnet Document.

A Carnet or ATA Carnet is an international customs document issued by 70 countries. It is presented when entering a Carnet country with merchandise or equipment that will be re-exported within 12 months. It is sometimes called The Merchandise Passport for boomerang freight.

Upon presentation, the Carnet permits the equipment or merchandise to clear customs without the payment of import duties and import taxes* such as VAT or GST. Payment is not necessary because the Carnet guarantees that the merchandise or equipment will be re-exported within a year. Thus the use of a Carnet is a way of temporarily importing into foreign countries without payment of import duties and taxes. Carnets also serve as the U.S. registration of goods so that the goods can re-enter the U.S. without payment of duties and taxes.

If goods are properly imported into one EU country and re-exported from a second EU country, the Carnet holder is unlikely to encounter any claims fees.

B. Permission for Analysis of Archaeological Material

Please bear in mind that permits for sampling and/or analysis of archaeological material can take up to six months to be issued. For this reason, please submit your requests to the School at least 6 months in advance.

(extracted from YPPO/GDAPK/ARCH/A2/F30/22268/778 and its Codicil)

  • Requests to take samples and to make analyses of material are submitted to the relevant Ephorates of Antiquity with copies to the Section of Greek and Foreign Academic Institutions of the Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, and to the Section of Applied Research of the Directorate of Conservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments, which is responsible for giving the relevant permission.
  • If the material to be studied or analysed concerns more than one Ephorate of Antiquities, the applicants are obliged to submit their requests simultaneously to the Ephorates concerned so that the matter can be handled in its entirety in case of extensive programmes.
  • If the material comes from research directed by the Ministry of Culture research department, the requests are to be submitted by the appropriate representative. If the request is made by researchers carrying out postgraduate or doctoral research, the request must be signed also by the professors overseeing the work.


  • No sample may be taken that removes part of a complete ancient object, in accordance with Article 26 of Law N 3028/02.
  • Archives or collections may not be made from pieces of the samples by foundations and representatives other then the Archaeological Service without specific approval by the Directorate of the Ministry of Culture responsible.
  • No request for the application of a destructive method will be considered if there is a non-destructive method for accomplishing the same purpose of research. The method to be chosen is that which will need the smallest possible sample.
  • The use of a destructive method is permissible only on fragments that cannot undergo conservation or cannot be joined (for example, sherds left from sorting, products of corrosion such as rust, black incrustation, organic remains).
  • Specifically for structural material, such as 1) stone, unfired brick, fired brick, 2) plaster, slips, wall paintings, wood impressions, 3) pieces of building material from quarries, the following is noted: Since all possible methods for studying the above are destructive, permission will be granted only for fragments of building material that are ready to break off. This means that permission will not be granted to remove any pieces since that may cause further damage to the monument.  As for wood impressions, since very few have remained, no sampling is permitted. In the case of painted wall plaster (wall paintings), no sampling is permitted. Likewise no samples may be taken from monuments that have had conservation.
  • Specifically in respect to the sampling of incrustation on wall paintings and icons, the smallest possible samples shall be removed, except in the case of important objects which may not be sampled at all.
  • In cases where permission for the sampling of some monument or object has already been granted in the past, permission for new sampling will not be granted unless adequate evidence is presented that new research is needed. That is to say that permission will be granted if the aim of the new research is to acquire different information about the object.


  • Written approval of the excavator or whoever is responsible for the research in cases where a find from an excavation or from any other form of archaeological exploration is to be sampled.
  • The requests must supply the following information a) the wider framework of the request and the ultimate reason for analysing the material, whether for its conservation or whether for further research on the finds and their connections, and b) the research establishment to which the sample is to be taken and analysed, the name of the laboratory and the name of the person in charge.
  • For requests concerning analyses in laboratories outside Greece, reasons must be given for the necessity of doing the research outside Greece. Specifically for the sampling, the following is required:
    • Detailed list of the objects intended for sampling or for laboratory analysis, stating whether they are complete or fragmentary objects, and whether they are organic remains. The list must be accompanied by photographs of each object and there must be a statement as to its origin, from an excavation or elsewhere.
    • Description of the method to be used for sampling, stating also the precise part of the object from which the sample is to be taken.
    • Number, measurements and respective amount to be sampled, as well as the form of the sample. If the request is for a large number of samples (over 10), the reason why such a large number is needed must be given. For palaiobotanical material, organic remains, rust and other cases of formless material, in addition to the requested amount, the total available amount must be stated as well in order to assure that the material is not all used up, thus precluding future analyses. Necessary specifically for the handling of the material and for the analyses is a detailed description of the method(s) of analysis to be used for the sample or the object, and a statement on the expected partial or toal destruction expected.

C. Greek Law 3028/2002 Governing Archaeological Research

This is a translation of Greek law enacted in 2002 concerning the responsibilities of a director of record of field projects for the protection, conservation and presentation of archaeological sites. Link to pdf here.

D. Terms and conditions for archaeological research in Greece from organizations that do not belong to the Greek Archaeological Service.  Prot. # YPPO/GDA/ARCH/A3/Φ30/70868/2539

This document from the Ministry of Culture specifies the procedure for applications for all kinds of archaeological research. Link to pdf here.