Karen Waugh (email@example.com)
The European Union (EU) Directive on ‘Environmental Impact Assessment’ (EIA) is the only piece of EU legislation which directly relates to archaeology and cultural heritage and deals with it in any substantial way. For this reason, it is of particular importance to the EAA. In fact, one can say that the Directive, and the manner of its implementation in the different member states of the EU, reflects a key issue for the EAA (and, indeed, for the EU): how to achieve the common societal goal of archaeological heritage protection and management against a background of widely varying local situations and approaches.
A large portion of development-led archaeology in Europe takes place on projects which are subject to EIA (such as land and sea-based infrastructure projects, urban expansion, forestry, mining and extraction etc.). The EIA Directive, therefore has a direct impact on almost everyone whose work is connected with development-led archaeology. By association, it has an impact on almost everyone who works in, or on, European archaeology for two main reasons. The first is the fact that the Directive is responsible for the discovery and investigation of very large amounts of new archaeological sites and material. The second, because it is an important EU-wide legal instrument, is that it prompts comparison of approaches in methods and practice. This suggests that greater harmonisation might be needed. The Directive has potential implications for the archaeological profession that extend well beyond the body of individual development projects that require EIA.
For all of these reasons, it is proposed to establish an EAA working party to consider the implication of the Directive for archaeological practice in Europe. This proposal comes out of discussions held at EAA Annual Conferences at Istanbul (2014) and Glasgow (2015). It also follows up the earlier Interreg-funded ‘PlanArch’ projects between partners England, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. The PlanArch guiding principles for cultural heritage in Environmental Impact Assessments represented a very important step forward and were subsequently adopted by the EAA (see report by John Williams in TEA no. 24 Winter 2005/2006).
The full scope of the proposed Working Party’s activities will depend on whether or not it is possible to obtain external funding for project work (similar to the PlanArch projects, for example). At this stage, the following activities are proposed: