Session: #880

Theme & Session Format

7. Archaeology of Sustainability through World Crises, Climate Change and War
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

PARIS or Paradigm Shift
Preservation of Archaeological Remains In Situ (PARIS) was established as an interdisciplinary conference series in response to the Malta Convention/Valetta Treaty ( and the paradigm of trying to preserve as much archaeology as possible in situ. The basis for the Convention was to highlight preservation of archaeological heritage as a goal in urban and regional planning policies and set guidelines for funding of excavation and research work and publication of research findings. The Convention also deals with public access to archaeological sites, actions to develop public awareness of the value of archaeological heritage, and it constitutes an institutional framework for pan-European co-operation on the archaeological heritage.
These are all very important factors in modern European heritage management policies. However, when the Convention was written, no-one counted in the factor of Climate Change.
Climate change contributes to more rapid degradation and even complete loss of archaeological sites and/or material types. Decades of archaeological deposit monitoring have demonstrated that in many cases, in situ site preservation is no longer a real option but rather an illusion. Thus we suggest that it may be time for a paradigm shift – not disregarding all the constructive aspects of the Malta Convention, but adhering to the new European Standard on cultural heritage monitoring (EN 17652, 2022 ) to evaluate if in situ preservation is a real possibility, or if threats to site preservation exceed possibilities of adaptation or mitigation and thus leaves preservation ex situ (excavation and documentation) as the only option to preserve the contextual site knowledge.

We invite papers on heritage research and climate change adaptation to think further and work towards solutions for sustainable work on preserving contextual heritage information either in situ or ex situ, enabling the experience of archaeology also for coming generations.
Paradigm shift, Malta Convention, Climate Change, Monitoring, Adaptation, Sustainability
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Main organiser:
Vibeke Martens (Norway) 1,2
Gillian Taylor (United Kingdom) 3
Tom Dawson (United Kingdom) 4,2
1. NIKU - Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research
2. CCH
3. Teesside University
4. University of St Andrews