Cultural preservation as a focus
The task of protecting, preserving, and mediating mankind's cultural heritage has global scope and significance. The German Archeological Institute is involved in monument preservation and restoration projects around the world, cooperating with numerous partners at the national and international level. It thus contributes very tangibly to the preservation, mediation, and touristic development of archeological monuments.
The German Archeological Institute has established the Historical Monument Committee, Architecture Committee, and Committee for the Protection of Cultural Goods and Site Management in order to fulfill – in close cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office – the obligations resulting from international agreements and standards.
Protection of cultural goods – from research to site management
If we want to fulfill the double task of protecting exposed and vulnerable archeological remains for future generations while facilitating research and a sustainable touristic development of the excavation sites we need a systematic site management approach. Such an approach must address the archeological site or cultural landscape as a whole. How are the historical remains to be made accessible for tourism? And, most notably, how can they be protected sustainable and adequately?
Every measure taken to preserve and maintain our cultural heritage must build on its investigation and documentation – which is exactly where the work of the DAI begins. DAI thus contributes to the preservation and long-term protection of our guest and partner countries' cultural heritage, both throughout Europe and around the world. Our activities and initiatives have direct impact on cultural policies, and our archeological work often contributes to the national and regional economic development in the respective countries
Continuous education and capacity building
Successful site management in the interest of cultural preservation must also include the establishment of sustainable structures and expertise development. DAI's commitment therefore includes the education and training of the local workforce, the continuous education of academic experts, and the establishment of collaborations with local academic and political institutions.
Supporting cultural preservation
Support and funding are essential prerequisites for successful site management. The Federal Foreign Office provides this much-needed funding through its Cultural Protection Program. Numerous other sponsors and supporters also contribute funds and support.
Organisation and legislative framework
A large number of specialists and disciplines at the German Archaeological Institute cooperate to meet the outlined challenges. The preservation of heritage buildings is the domain of historical construction research and supported by the Historical Monument Committee.
The basic protection of cultural goods and the fight against illegal trade in archeological objects are special DAI concerns. All of our departments work together with local antiques authorities on these matters. The Orient Department in particular participates in UNESCO initiatives to ensure cultural heritage protection in Iraq and Syria. The expertise of DAI scientists is often required to identify objects of suspicious origin that turn up in the art trade. To address this important issue, a commission focusing on the protection of cultural goods and site management was set up at the DAI headquarters in 2011.
In addition to this, we must strive to bundle the capacities and expertise in this area in a dedicated network. DAI is committed to building and expanding collaborations with German universities and other institutions to address questions of restoring, conserving, and presenting archeological sites. Also at the core of DAI's work are the digitalization and archiving of our valuable photography and map collections and the creation of digital monument registers.
International agreements and conventions form the legislative framework for our actions. Guiding standards for our work are defined by our cooperation with the Cultural Preservation Program of the Federal Foreign Office. In addition, DAI has defined its own set of rules and regulations, especially in view of the problem of illegal excavations and illegal art trade.