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Two recent higher court findings from Austria show how the Austrian National Heritage Agency [BDA] has misinterpreted and misapplied the provisions of § 11 (1) Austrian Monument Protection Law. While the BDA has maintained for decades that consent is required under § 11 (1) for any fieldwork, even surface surveys, regardless of whether archaeology is known, legal challenge has established that neither is the case. Rather, it appears that consent under § 11 (1) is only required where there is evidence that significant archaeology will be found during the fieldwork. Furthermore, § 11 (1) only applies to sub-surface fieldwork or under-water evidence. As a consequence, as many as c.10,000 permits may have been granted illegally, with potentially costly conditions attached. This paper examines the court findings, their consequences for Austrian archaeological heritage management, the reasons why the BDA misinterpreted the law and reflects on the wider implications.


  • ARCHAEOLOGY, Heritage, Heritage law, Heritage management, LAW, Court judgements, Austria
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-149
JournalHistoric Environment – Policy and Practice
Issue number2
Early online date20 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

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