Planning for Site Conservation

Planning for Site Conservation

When applying for a new permit, you and/or your conservation team, in consultation with the Ephoreia, should provide a preliminary assessment of the excavation site in terms of existing cultural remains, environmental setting and seasonal conditions, access to the site, and general safety and security. Please include a description of anticipated measures during and between field seasons to protect exposed remains from human and natural damage, and stabilize surroundings against erosion, subsidence, flooding, or collapse.

Your proposal should also include a vision, developed in collaboration or co-authorship with your conservation team and the local Ephoreia, for the post-research life of the excavation site, taking into account such issues as access, landscape, cultural heritage, and dissemination of the results of field research beyond scientific publications and presentations. This could involve input from local communities, officials, sponsors, and organizations in addition to the Ephoreia.

As the vision and expectations for site management change with the evolution of archaeological investigations, an update to the preliminary assessment, with a brief summary of actions taken, should be provided to the ASCSA after each season of excavation. This update should reflect consultation with the Ephoreia and other partners, as at the onset of the project, to ensure mutual understanding of the expectations for ongoing and future site conservation. At the end of the permit, an updated report on the vision for the post-research life of the site in light of discoveries should be submitted.

As work proceeds and especially as the envisioned period of excavation shifts to a phase of multiple study seasons, projects should be aware that according to Greek law, the care for exposed antiquities, which is the responsibility of the excavating institution and of the excavator, is a prerequisite for considering any request. Institutions conducting archaeological research and excavation directors are responsible for the preservation and presentation of the site, according to the site’s needs and particular characteristics (e.g., removal of vegetation, fencing, drainage). Failure to comply with these obligations can result in the termination of the research project.

At the end of an excavation project, the Ministry expects the submission of a comprehensive study for the conservation of the excavated site and, if feasible, for its presentation to the public. If needed, the School can recommend experienced and licensed professionals who can carry out such study in accordance with the Ministry’s standards and requirements. Following approval of the study by the Central Archaeological Council, project directors must ensure, either independently or in collaboration with the Ephoreia, the necessary funds and staff for the implementation of the study.

We recommend that the study or technical report on the conservation of an excavated site include a detailed management plan for stabilization, restoration, maintenance and protection of the site and its remains (including, if necessary, built shelters). Ideally this plan should specify responsibilities to be shared between excavator/institution and the Ephoreia, and a timeline, bearing in mind article 43 of the Greek Antiquities Law, which states that conservation work should be conducted by either the Ephoreia or a licensed Greek conservator.

When applicable, directors of projects should discuss with the Ephoreia projected timelines and a plan for final transfer of site to the Ministry of Culture.