The Czech Deputy Minister for Culture, Vlastislav Ouroda, opened the Annual Symposium of the European Archaeological Council at the National Museum in Prague on 5th March 2020.
The 21st Annual meeting of the European Archaeological Council was held in Prague from 5 to 7 March 2020 and was attended by more than 100 representatives of various heritage institutions across Europe, including from Israel and the Russian Federation. The meeting was organized by the National Heritage Institute of the Czech republic, with the support of the National Museum in Prague.
The theme of the Prague conference was the Public Benefit of Archaeology. Twenty presentations provided insight into the topic from different countries, discussed ways of understanding the issue better and proposed approaches to demonstrating the value of archaeology to society. In the Czech Republic, there is now a major discussion connected with the preparation of new heritage legislation, which will have a major impact on archaeological and monument preservation. Positive exchange of international practice could only benefit the implementation of the new legislation.
As the EAC President noted in an interview for the Czech Heritage Institute: "The topic of the conference was the increase of public benefit from archaeology undertaken as part of development or construction. Some people think wrongly that this type of archaeology creates delay and costs too much. We know that across Europe archaeological costs represent less than 0.1 % of all construction costs. This tiny cost creates huge benefits – these benefits go beyond the basic aim of archaeology, which is to understand our shared past. We know that archaeology can bring people together, can excite communities, can create scientific breakthroughs, can grow tourism and can discover unknown wonders. However, we also know that archaeologists could be better at helping society realise those benefits. The conference was held to see what we can do about that and it provided a rich and varied range of perspectives on the issue of maximising public benefit, from which we can begin confidently to build a framework to achieve our goals. We have agreed key principles of that framework and now we can see a clear way of establishing the ground rules for its implementation".
You can read the full interview here.
The protection of archaeological cultural heritage, both in the management of the landscape and the environment, is an essential element for the preservation of Europe's cultural landscape, whose fundamental values should be preserved for future generations.