General Information for Fieldwork Projects

The terms and conditions for carrying out archaeological fieldwork in Greece are described in Articles 35-39 of Law 4858/2021“On the Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in General”. For the full text of the Law, click here.

Foreign archaeological missions or schools established in Greece are entitled to a total of six annual fieldwork permits: three independent projects and three projects in collaboration (synergasia) with the Archaeological Service. Each foreign school is entitled to three archaeological surveys annually. According to the policy of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the rules adopted by the Managing Committee of the American School, all American scholars who wish to conduct field work in Greece, should request that appropriate application for permission be made to the Greek authorities on their behalf by the American School. The application is submitted to the relevant ephoreia(s) and is examined by the Central Archaeological Council (new projects). The final decision is issued by the Minister of Culture and Sports.

The conditions for the issuance of a fieldwork permit by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports are the following: 1) submission of an analytical report providing prima facie evidence of the existence of monuments, defining the site to be excavated and documenting the expected contribution of the specific research to scientific knowledge and the need to proceed to excavation, b) the standing and reliability of the body undertaking to carry out the excavation, c) the experience in excavations and the scientific authority of the director, d) the interdisciplinary composition of the team, e) the experience of the members of the scientific team in consolidation, conservation, protection and publication of excavation finds, f) adequacy of the technical infrastructure and g) adequacy of the budget and the program for excavation, conservation and publication of finds.

The duration of an excavation or survey project cannot exceed five years. For its extension, a new application must be submitted and, after approval, a new decision shall be issued following the same procedure. The approval of the extension of an excavation or survey project is based on the results of the first excavation/survey period and the purpose of continuing research, the compliance with the Ministry’s rules and regulations regarding the excavation and conservation of finds, the adequacy of technical and financial resources for the continuation of excavation/survey, the conservation of finds and the publication of the project’s results. 

American School affiliated field projects are carried out under the supervision of the Archaeological Service. In this respect, the Service is represented by one of its staff archaeologists who has at least three years experience in archaeological excavations. 

The director of an excavation must have at least five years experience in excavations and at least two scientific publications on excavations or excavation finds. The director of an excavation or survey must ensure that the project is carried out according to the approved timetable and that, as far as possible, non destructive methods are used. The director is responsible for the guarding of the site, the conservation and consolidation of movable and immovable finds, as well as the safety of the project team members. Care must also be taken for the proper and safe storage of all excavation finds, either in the nearest public archaeological museum, if space permits, or in a separate storage facility approved by the Archaeological Service. Technical studies for the conservation and restoration of architectural remains must be submitted to the relevant ephoreia and other departments of the Ministry for approval.

The direction of an excavation that involves paleontological deposits shall be undertaken jointly by an archaeologist that fulfills all the qualifications mentioned in the above paragraph and specializes in these chronological periods, in collaboration with a scientist specialized in paleontology who has at least three years experience in excavation.

Any underwater archaeological excavation or survey project can only be carried out in collaboration (synergasia) with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.

Publication Responsibilities

Project directors are required to submit an annual report on the progress of their project. Directors of systematic excavations are required to submit a preliminary publication within two years from the commencement of the excavation and a final publication within five years from the completion of the excavation. Directors of long standing excavations are additionally required to submit a publication on the progress of their project every two years after the submission of the preliminary publication. Directors of surveys or other archaeological research projects are required to submit their final publication within two years after the completion of the project. For more information on the publication obligations of project directors, see Article 39 of the Antiquities Law.