"Guardians of the contexts”

Towards a (more) responsible use of European archaeological resources

International conference 6th April 2018 Narodni muzej Slovenije – Metelkova, Ljubljana

The Iron Age Danube Project, the Slovenian Archaeological Society and the European Association of Archaeologists (Committee on the Illicit Trade in Cultural Material) organized the international conference “Guardians of the contexts - Towards a (more) responsible use of European archaeological resources. It took place on 6th April 2018 in the National Museum of Slovenia – Metelkova in Ljubljana.

Aim of the conference was on the one hand to discuss the legislation, strategies and principles for the inclusion of metal detectorists and amateur archaeologists into the scientific research and into the heritage protection schemes. On the other hand the consolidation of the legal framework and practical measures for the prevention of looting and illegal trade in antiquities were also important topics.

After an introduction to the development of modern regulations regarding archaeological remains and finds as well as the presentation of examples of crimes related to cultural heritage in Slovenia, various papers illuminated from different angles the use of metal detectors.

In contrary to the responsible use of metal detectors by the professionals, the use by unauthorized persons to discover archaeological artifacts and its consequences has been pointed out on several case studies.

The involvement of the so-called amateur archaeologists in the scientific research, thus into archaeological prospection and excavation projects are feasible. However, this kind of cooperation only works for those metal detectorists, who are seriously interested in a collaboration with the archaeologists. The organized criminal part of the scene, conducting illicit excavations cannot be reached with such attempts. In this case, only more precise and consistently applied laws will help to prevent the destruction and illicit trade of cultural heritage in the future.

All pictures: © Nejc Dolinar




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