Sunday, 6 February 2022

Before the 1970 Convention

             Sites and monuments               

We tend to forget these sections of the 1956 UNESCO Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavation
IV. Trade in antiquities

27. In the higher interests of the common archaeological heritage, each Member State should consider the adoption of regulations to govern the trade in antiquities so as to ensure that this trade does not encourage smuggling of archaeological material or affect adversely the protection of sites and the collecting of material for public exhibit.

28. Foreign museums should, in order to fulfill their scientific and educational aims, be able to acquire objects which have been released from any restrictions due to the laws in force in the country of origin.

V. Repression of clandestine excavations and of the illicit export of archaeological finds

Protection of archaeological sites against clandestine excavations and damage 29. Each Member State should take all necessary measures to prevent clandestine excavations and damage to monuments defined in paragraphs 2 and 3 above, and also to prevent the export of objects thus obtained.

International co-operation in repressive measures

30. All necessary measures should be taken in order that museums to which archaeological objects are offered ascertain that there is no reason to believe that these objects have been procured by clandestine excavation, theft or any other method regarded as illicit by the competent authorities of the country of origin. Any suspicious offer and all details appertaining thereto should be brought to the attention of the services concerned. When archaeological objects have been acquired by museums, adequate details allowing them to be identified and indicating the manner of their acquisition should be published as soon as possible.

Return of objects to their country of origin

31. Excavation services and museums should lend one another assistance in order to ensure or facilitate the recovery of objects derived from clandestine excavations or theft, and of all objects exported in infringement of the legislation of the country of origin. It is desirable that each Member State should take the necessary measures to ensure this recovery. These principles should be applied in the event of temporary exports as mentioned in paragraph 23(c), (d) and (e) above, if the objects are not returned within the stipulated period.

VI. Excavations in occupied territory

32. In the event of armed conflict, any Member State occupying the territory of another State should refrain from carrying out archaeological excavations in the occupied territory. In the event of chance finds being made, particularly during military works, the occupying Power should take all possible measures to protect these finds, which should be handed over, on the termination of hostilities, to the competent authorities of the territory previously occupied, together with all documentation relating thereto.

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