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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Greek Archaeological Service in the 90s

The beginning of the last decade of our century found the Greek Archaeological Service to be controlled by a legislation dating from1899-1932 and incompletely codified sixty years ago. Therefore it is not only full of contradictions, menacing penalties and provisions unsuitable to the present constitution and the international contracts signed by Greece; but it has also become partially powerless due to later additions and exceptions- The handicaps imposed by this legislation, and the absence of inter-European borders from 1.1.1993 will find the Greek Archaeological Service watching rather passively its movable archaeological heritage being «smuggled» and transported easily and illegally to a united Europe. Furthermore, on the basis of the EC relevant directive all reserved rights on the historic and artistic treasures that “emigrated” are abolished after thirty or seventy-five years. Regarding the organization of the Ephorate of Antiquities, the vital cell of the Archaeological Service, a series of essential steps have urgently to be taken: The reinforcement of the existing Ephorates of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the increase of Ephorates of Byzantine Antiquities and those of Modern Monuments; the rational distribution of work through specialized departments, internal restructuring, redistribution of personnel, modernization and efficient staffing of the museums so that they will function no more as mere warehouses of beautiful objects of obscure ancestry. Also necessary is the significant increase of staff for the efficient guarding of antiquities, systematic excavations, documentation of archaeological finds, organization of temporary exhibitions, promotion of archaeological sites, restoration of monuments. Cases, that are being presently evaluated by the Central Archaeological Council, should be examined by local councils instituted for just such a purpose and a flexible service for the effective protection of monuments must be also included in the forementioned scheme. Finally, the full financial support of the State for the preservation of the archaeological treasures of a country like Greece is the indispensable, essential factor for the successful application of all realistic proposals.