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Countries consolidate efforts against illicit archaeology

June 5, 2012 

With the aim to develop international cooperation in the field of archaeological heritage, the Cultural Heritage Department under the Ministry of Culture organized a round-table discussion “Practice in Fighting against Illicit Archaeology” on May 31, 2012 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Ms. Diana Varnaitė, director of Cultural Heritage Department, says that such meetings are very important, as fighting against heritage crime is possible only consolidating the efforts on the international level.

During the meeting heritage management specialists from Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden exchanged information, experience and good practice in fighting against “black archaeology”, discussed the national legal aspects, the current situation and problems, as well as possibilities for cooperation in preventing crimes against archaeological heritage.

Though each country has different legal regulation and practice in fighting against illicit archaeology, all the participants of the meeting emphasized that archaeological crimes make an irretrievable damage to ancient monuments and pose a big threat to the national heritage. The urgent problems of illegal use of metal detectors, looting and theft of archaeological finds, as well as insufficient cooperation of the concerned institutions and the public were discussed during the meeting.

All the participants of the meeting expressed the opinion that it is necessary to strengthen protection of archaeological sites from looters as well as to raise the awareness among the heritage agencies, authorities and general public. In order to determine the origin of archaeological artifacts and to prevent trafficking in cultural property, sharing of information and cooperation of respective authorities (cultural heritage management specialists, police, coast guards, customs, prosecutors) and the general public are vitally important.

It was agreed to continue further international cooperation and to plan concrete measures for preventing crime against archaeological heritage.

After the session the participants of the meeting visited the Kernavė Archaeological Site and took part at the opening of a newly reconstructed Kernavė Archaeological Site Museum.

Photo: participants of the meeting in Kernavė

Contact person:

Alfredas Jomantas

Head of Heritage registry, public relations and education division

Tel. +370 5 272 4084

e-mail: a.jomantas@heritage.lt

Presentations made by the participants of the meeting:

Archaeology in Lithuania

Belarus

Estonia

Latvia

Lithuania

Poland

Sweden

 

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