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by Archaeology Newsroom

Archaeology in France

Archaeological work in France is subjected to the so-called Carcopino Law of 1941. The Ministry of Education and Culture has a Sub-Direction of Archaeology that depends on the Direction of National Heritage. In each province the Ministry is represented by a General Director of cultural affairs, to whom the regional curator of antiquities is subordinate. The regional Archaeological Service has the responsibility for the observance of legislation regarding excavations and archaeological discoveries, the use of the land and the subsoil, the protection of archaeological remnants, the use of metal detectors. The regional curator prepares the scheduling of excavations and has the responsibility for the total archaeological documentation. The Supreme Council of

archaeological research grants the permission for scheduled or rescue excavations. The Ministry of Education and Culture is not the only civil service dealing with archaeology. Three more ministries directly finance archaeological activities, while five major Institutes operating abroad (one of which is the French Archaeological School of Athens), which are partially or totally involved in archeological work, depend on the Ministry o( Education and Culture. Finally, the CNRS (Ministry of Research and Space) finances groups of scientists who are active in archaeology. For an archaeologist, the only way to obtain a proper scientific knowledge is by going to university, while the excavational projects can supply him with practical experience. Archaeologists in France are employed after a screening. The work of rescue excavations is carried out by 1500 archaeologists on contract who are paid by various state budgets. The necessary credits are managed by a non-profit organization, the AFAN (Union of National Archaeological Excavations), established in 1974. While universities play an important role in theoretical archaeological education, they have a rather poor contribution to its practical application. Archaeology in France is going through a phase of “development crisis” that affects personnel (education and

employment), the administrative organizations (Ministry and Supreme Archaeological Council relations), and the archaeological policy of the country (partial privatization of archaeological activities).