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The Finnish Heritage Agency is identifying nationally significant archaeological sites


The Finnish Heritage Agency has initiated a three-year project to examine and take stock of nationally significant archaeological sites (VARK).

The project will assess and select archaeological sites to put together a compendium that provides an overview that is representative of the antiquity of Finnish land areas, excluding Åland, in terms of time periods and geography across more than 10,000 years.

The purpose of the sites is to help create as multifaceted a story as possible of the people and communities that have lived here, and of their cultures. The project is set to be completed in 2021.

Securing nationally significant sites

The national land use guidelines require the value of nationally significant cultural environments to be preserved. Alongside information on built environments and landscapes, an up-to-date catalogue of archaeological heritage is required.

A site being included in the VARK inventory does not directly change the relevant preservation scheme since all ancient relics are automatically protected by the Antiquities Act. The terms for disturbance and research permits regarding such sites may be stricter than for other locations. In addition to this, there may be increased expectations on land use solutions. VARK sites may sometimes be prioritised in the allocation of maintenance grants.

Terrain surveys in the summer of 2019

The VARK inventory is primarily based on information in the Finnish Heritage Agency’s Ancient Relics Register. In addition to this, terrain surveys will be carried out for sites on which the information is outdated or otherwise inaccurate.  Surveys will be conducted during the summer of 2019 throughout Finland.

The Finnish Heritage Agency will be conducting the inventory in cooperation with experts from museums that handle specialist tasks relating to the cultural environment, including the Sámi Museum Siida.

More information on the project can be found in the appended text and on the website of the Finnish Heritage Agency

Read also: What to do when you find an ancient relic?

or more information, please contact:

Teija Tiitinen Project Manager, Finnish Heritage Agency tel. +358 (0)9 0295 33 6293 teija.tiitinen@museovirasto.fi