Israel Antiquities Authority – Policy for Granting Excavation Licenses in Israel

The Archaeological Council of Israel, the expert and highest advisory board to the Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, following a series of lengthy discussions in the presence of all its members and its professional committee, has formulated policy guidelines for granting excavation licenses in Israel.

The attached document will serve as a guide to the Director when granting excavation licenses to new applicants, so as to maintain a balance between scientific research needs and the preservation of Israel’s cultural resources and heritage.

Guidelines for Granting Excavation Licenses in Israel

The Archaeological Council recommends to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) Director-General that, before granting excavation licenses to archaeologists, their qualifications and experience, the academic standing and archaeological research of the requesting institute, and the scientific significance of the site in question, all be taken into consideration.

1. Preference will be given to applications for sites endangered by impending development, or threatened by man-made or natural processes, in accordance with a list of sites prepared by the IAA.

2. The Committee recommends that the applicant’s institute be a recognized institute of archaeology, with infrastructure for research, laboratory treatment, processing and publication of finds, with an academic faculty and research students in relevant fields, and research experience in field archaeology.
      A. An applicant submitting a request for a license on behalf of a foreign institute will attach to the application a profile of the research conducted by the institute, and will provide information on the above subjects.
      B. Excavation licenses will be granted to archaeologists working on behalf of recognized Israeli institutes of archaeological research.

3. The institute on whose behalf the application has been submitted, and the archaeologist receiving the license, will be responsible for directing the excavations, for publication of its finds according to accepted scientific standards, and for conservation of the excavated area as required by the Conservation Department of the IAA.

4. A license application submitted by a foreign institute lacking an archaeological infrastructure as required above, will be advised to form a research collaboration with a recognized archaeological institute.

5. Details of the applicant’s experience and that of the field research team, in processing finds and publication, research partners and independent work will be attached to the license application. If the applicant has no past experience in directing complex scientific excavations, it is recommended that no application be initiated for a site of prime scientific significance.

6. Each license application will be accompanied by a detailed research proposal stating the aims of the excavation, subjects for research, amount of time planned for research, and cost of the various components: the field research excavation, processing the finds, area conservation, and accompanying research.

7. The Licensing Committee of the Archaeological Council will reassess the continuation of each license every four years, based on the progress of the excavation and its scientific publication.