The Austrian National Heritage Agency [BDA] has long maintained that all archaeological fieldwork in Austria is only permitted with a permit according to the Austrian Monuments Protection Law. Such permits, since 1999, can only be issued to archaeology graduates, severely restricting the rights of most Austrian citizens to engage in self-determined archaeological research. Yet, the right to conduct self-determined research has been enshrined since 1923 in the Austrian Constitution, and increasingly been guaranteed by various international legal instruments. This paper demonstrates that the BDA has interpreted the law incorrectly. A proposal is also presented of how voluntary compliance with archaeological quality assurance regulations could be enhanced.