What is cultural property protection?

Protecting and preserving things of special value for a group, a nation or the whole of humanity for posterity is the essential task of cultural property protection.

Often, the value of cultural property is only recognized when it is damaged or massively threatened in its continued existence – as in the destruction of Palmyra or the fire of Notre-Dame. Suddenly, its importance for the respective community and its identity is perceived, protective measures are discussed and organized. Protecting antique objects and buildings, as well as intangible cultural property, is a challenge, but it always is everywhere in the world. A complex interaction of different actors is necessary.

Protection of cultural property, however, is far more than the protection of world heritage from destruction. Looting, theft or smuggling play an equally important role. This makes it all the more important that the history of an object is fully documented. What usually goes unnoticed is the extent of the contribution that Classical Studies makes to the protection of cultural property. In fact, their knowledge is indispensable when it comes to the preservation of archaeological sites or the correct classification of illegally traded objects. Due to their scientific and object-related competence, effective measures can be developed in cooperation with other disciplines that ensure the preservation of archaeological cultural property for subsequent generations and ensure their accessibility in the long term.

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