Archaeological Laws and legislations

Here are some of the laws and legislations that are in place mostly in England but sometimes elsewhere as well. This is revision for my A2 Archaeology.

  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 23-05-11 13:39

The Monuments at Risk Survey of England (MARS)

  • This was done in 1998
  • It was undertaken by Bournemouth University and The Royal Comission on the Historic Monuments of England (RCHME)
  • It was a survey of the condition of a 5% random sample of Englands known and recorded archaeological sites.
  • It provided a census of the nature distribution and state of Englands archaeological resources.
  • The examined records from archives including RAF aerial photographs from the 1940's and compared them to recent information.
  • The key measureswere the loss of horizontal area and the loss of height.
  • It found that 95% of monuments had suffered some damage.
  • Since 1945, 23500 monuments hace been completly destroyed.
  • 2% of recorded sites have been lost since the survey.
  • It has probably missed many buried sites and therefore the destruction may be much higher.
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Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 197

  • Developers have to fill out a scheduled monument consent before any changes can be made to a scheduled site.
  • This is then sent to the Secretary of State of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport who has up to three months to make a decision as to if the changes can be made.
  • It is overseen by the English Heritagewho have the task to record, asses and moniter monuments. They can also recomend other sites to be scheduled.
  • There are over 25,000 scheduled sites but this is only about 2% of all known sites in the country.
  • It doesn't include the protection of landscapes.
  • Sites discovered during development may not be included.
  • Plowing is still allowed to happen on site if it was previously but it is not allowed to be any deeper than currently used.
  • It is easy to claim ignorance so get out of it.
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Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of S

  • These are primarily to conserve landscapes and habitats however due to the protection given to these it may also conserve and protect archaeological remains.
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Town and Country Planning Act 1971

  • This allowed local authorities to take archaeology into account when considering planning applications.
  • Local councils are required to produce structure plans for furutre developments.
  • It did not guarentee that archaeology would be preserved or recorded.
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Planning and Policy Guide number 16 (PPG16)

  • This is not a law but a guide
  • It advises planners to consider archaeology at an early satge in the development process and favour the preservation of archaeological remains.
  • It encourages in situ preservation.
  • It advises that the developer is responsible for funding archaeological work.
  • But very few developments are rejected on archaeological grounds.
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UNESCO and World Heritage Sites

  • There is a list of over 850 outstanding international value.
  • Enables funds to be channeled to conservation and restouration on endangered sites in poorer countries.
  • The majority of sites are in Europe.
  • Sites have to have a management plan which engages all of the partied involved.
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Valetta Convention 1992

  • The European Charter for the Protection and Management of the Archaeological Heritage.
  • It requires governments to protect monuments and regulate archaeology to ensure proper conservation of sites.
  • It covers the use of metal detectors, the trade in artefacts and the need to raise public awareness.
  • There are fears that it could limit the use of amateurs in archaeology.
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Treasure Act of 1996

  • What is treasure?:1.Any metal object which is more than 300 years old and is made of at least 10% precious metal, 2.Any object that is made of any amount of precious metal and is prehistoric, 3.Collections of coins greater in number than 10.
  • If it is determined as treasure then it has to be reported to a coroner within 14 days.
  • E.g. Staffordshire Hoard.
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Portable Antiquities Scheme

  • Introduced in 1997
  • A voluntary code of practice
  • Objects are reported to the Finds Liasion Officer
  • Any object can be reported
  • By 2007, over 300,000 objects had been reported.
  • Provides a link between the public, metal decterorists, archaeologists and museums.
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UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally exporte

  • Introduced in 2008
  • Requires the return of stolen or illegally excavated objects.
  • Helps check the provinance of imported objects.
  • The UK has not yet signed this.
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