A comparison between the permission requirements for driving cars and archaeological fieldwork demonstrates that the latter are far more restrictive than the former. This is despite the threats to life, health and property by private driving being well documented, exactly known, and the actual damages caused by it demonstrably both serious and significant; while any threat to archaeology by fieldwork is largely hypothetical, not systematically recorded, and impossible to estimate in terms of quantity or quality. It is not even clear whether preventing fieldwork actually reduces any ‘avoidable’ damage, or whether it just promotes the unnoticed destruction of archaeology by other threats. In this contribution I argue that instead of the current practice of requiring permits for each individual archaeological field research project, a license comparable to that for driving cars should be introduced for conducting self-determined archaeological fieldwork on non-scheduled sites.


  • ARCHAEOLOGY, Heritage, Research permits, Scheduled monuments, Germany, Austria
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)289-303
JournalArchäologische Informationen
Early online date1 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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