|large scale rescue excavations at a medieval|
site, called Perkáta, Fejér county, Hungary
(Foto: Gábor Rákóci, by permission).
The proposal package prepared by the AHA entitled ”A unified concept of development-led archaeological service” is intended to reconcile the differing interests of the two sectors. It takes into consideration the previous legislation and present practice of Hungarian archaeology defined by the law regarding cultural heritage formulated in 2001 (2001/LXIV). The main principle of the law was that all areas of archaeological interest must be completely excavated. This was also the principle that determined development-led archaeological research in Hungary during the years preceding the global economic crisis, covering many millions of square metres of archaeological sites, thus, opening up new perspectives for the archaeological profession and scholarship in Hungary. Expectations concerning the research outcome, however, were not formulated in the form of unified professional standards, and, for a variety of reasons, only a fragment of the scholarly results has been made available to the public. On the other hand, the investors’ side complained of a lack of regularization concerning the ‘time and money’ aspects of the system.
The 2011 modification of the 2001 law was intended to act in the interests of the investors’ lobby, by setting up time and cost limits of preventive archaeological excavations related to large-scale investment projects. This, however, was carried out without any consultations with experienced archaeologists, making it impossible for the archaeological profession to work in accordance with – either nationally or internationally – accepted standards.
The AHA’s proposal package offers a much more favourable framework for each of the participants by protecting the archaeological heritage in Hungary according to a model approved by the profession, and facilitating the planning process of developments with respect to the issues of time and costs.
According to the proposal, the whole range of development-lead archaeological tasks needs to be standardized on a national level – something heretofore unparalleled in Hungary.
- A new form of Preventive Heritage Risk Assessment is one of the crucial elements in the AHA’s proposal.
- As opposed to previous practice in Hungary, heretofore based on the results of a set of preliminary research steps, developers would have the opportunity of avoiding previously identified archaeological sites. These results would also serve as the basis of calculating the time and cost requirements of preventive excavations as well.
- It is necessary to define the actual tasks and performance of clearly defined actors responsible for various phases in archaeological heritage protection work. These include preliminary archaeological documentation, trial excavation, preventive excavation, monitoring, covering the sites, processing the documentation and assemblages as well as assuring the social utility of the result.
- The AHA aims to lay down foundations for transparent and standardized pricing, geared as well to the actual tasks and performance of the actors.
- In addition, according to the proposal, activities related to quality assurance would be built into the system allowing the archaeological side to guarantee that tasks are carried out everywhere at the same levels of professional quality and within the same time limits.
The proposal was supported by a number of national professional organizations – the Archaeological Committee of ICOMOS Hungarian National Committee, the Hungarian Society for Archaeology and Art History, and the Pulszky Society – the Hungarian Museum Association. It has been submitted to the Ministry of National Resources, as well as to leading investors.
Besides the formulation of the proposal, the AHA offers their professional assistance to the Ministry for preparations of future modifications to the law as well.
For further information contact:
Dr. Gábor Lassányi
Hungarian Association of Archaeologists
Internal Links to this topic at Archaeologik