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The RAAR Project — Heritage Management Aspects on Reburial After Ten Years of Work

Journal article
Authors Inger Nyström Godfrey
Thomas Bergstrand
Håkan Petersson
Carola Bohm
Charlotte Björdal
Eva Christensson
David Gregory
I.M MacLeod
Elizabeth Ellen Peacock
Vicki Richards
Published in Conservation and Management of Archeological Sites
Volume 14
Issue 1-4
Pages 360-371
ISSN 1350-5033
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Conservation
Pages 360-371
Language en
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, History and Archaeology, Archaeology


The general purpose of the international reburial project, Reburial and Analyses of Archaeological Remains (RAAR), is to evaluate reburial as a method for the long-term storage and preservation of waterlogged archaeological remains. Since 2001 material samples have been buried, retrieved, analysed systematically, and the results reported. RAAR has mainly focused on the degradation of materials commonly encountered on archaeological sites, and on environmental monitoring techniques in order to determine what type of material can be reburied and for how long. The project has concluded that a heritage institution could provide short- or long-term curation for its archaeological archive by using reburial depots provided they are set up according to guidelines and restrictions stipulated by the RAAR project. However, there are management and legal aspects that need to be discussed and resolved before each reburial project. Actual reburials that have been carried out so far are often a solution to emergency situations and lack collection and management policies. The questions ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘for how long’ have been forgotten and need to be addressed. The legal protection of a reburial site is also important. This paper discusses these aspects and their consequences and highlights possible differences in approaches between the countries involved in the RAAR project.

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