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Examination of the legal status of archaeologically-recovered material in England

Mor, Haggai; (2021) Examination of the legal status of archaeologically-recovered material in England. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In this thesis, I explore the legal status of archaeologically-recovered material obtained during development-driven fieldwork. To address this research, the contract and practice relating to development-driven archaeological work is analysed through a number of case studies, as well as pertinent property law, court cases, Acts of Parliament, national policies and international regulations and conventions, that form the corpus of legal literature relevant to archaeological work undertaken in England. My research has shown that ownership of, and title to, archaeologically-recovered objects transfers from landowners to archaeologists during the course of CRM-based (Cultural Resource Management) pre-development archaeology projects, on the condition that the landowner does not assert an intention to maintain title to the objects. Archaeologically-recovered objects belong to the organisation holding them, under the stipulation that the work was carried out under a valid contract. Contractual archaeological investigations resulting in lawful possession of recovered items imply an entitlement to the possession of the recovered material by virtue of the collection and retention of the items being a well-known practice that has been taking place for many years. As such, archaeologists’ practice of obtaining and retaining objects discovered during fieldwork constitutes an implied contractual term incorporated into all pre-development archaeological field investigative work undertaken in England. Archaeology industry guidelines and policies applicable to projects which take place in England should thus be amended to accurately reflect this position and resolve perceived uncertainties regarding title to collections of recovered items. A concomitant issue addressed in this thesis concerns access to and use of material, data and information which remain with the archaeology contractor because the amount of accumulated material exceeds the storage capacity of museums. This situation, in combination with perceived legal uncertainties, hinders the use of recovered material in a way which is beneficial to society. Here I use case studies and analysis of scholarly literature to illustrate and examine these issues.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Examination of the legal status of archaeologically-recovered material in England
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119358
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