Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt
Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte
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Archaeological Conservation

mediaeval Grubenhaus (house with sunken floor-level)
Abandoned village of Marsleben: a fixed-level, box-grid excavation of a mediaeval Grubenhaus (house with sunken floor-level)
Surveying a site with a Total Station and laptop
Surveying a site with a Total Station and laptop
GIS data from an excavation
GIS data from an excavation

The Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt is unusually rich in archaeological monuments from all prehistoric, ancient and mediaeval eras. The cause, and the continuing basis, for this is above all the outstanding quality of the agricultural land, especially in the southern and central parts of the State, which have always provided ideal conditions for population groups that depend on farming. The climate is comparatively favourable and the region is well placed geographically in relation to transit routes, as well as having rich sources of raw materials. As a result, the archaeological landscape stands out even in a European context as being unusually rich and complex.

Department 4 - Archaeological Conservation - of the State Office Heritage Management and Archaeology fulfils the duties set out in the Law on Protection of Historic Monuments (in German) with respect to archaeological monuments. Its central tasks include the preservation and protection of the physical substance of the archaeological monuments, as well as recording them, documenting them scientifically and studying them. To complete these tasks, various methods (field survey, preliminary investigations in the course of planned building activities, aerial photography, geophysical prospection, lidar, among others) are used to systematically record the physical substance of the monument.

One focus of the work is in providing expert assistance in planning permission processes of every kind and, developing out of that, in the organisation, supervision and execution of rescue excavations. These directly involve experts in various natural science disciplines, of which archaeobotany, archaeozoology and soil science are represented on the staff of the department itself. This is the only way to gain an understanding of broad issues in environmental archaeology. The continuing study of the archaeological monuments is also given increasing attention, often in cooperation with external partners.

So that agreements can be reached at an early stage whenever construction work that will break ground is planned, there are Conservation Officers responsible for specific geographical areas of the State. In addition, there are also sections of the Department that are responsible throughout the State for special types of excavation (e.g. transport routes, opencast mines, etc.) or special archaeological fields (such as mediaeval archaeology).

An indispensable component of the Department's work is a large network of Voluntary Representatives, who fulfil specific, closely defined tasks in archaeological conservation, by agreement with the Conservation Office.

The sophisticated work of the Department for Archaeological Conservation is in many respects the first stage of the scientific study and evaluation of archaeological finds and sites, and at the same time it forms the basis for communicating and explaining them to the public.