Information about permits

General information about permits

According to the policy of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the rules adopted by the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece (ESAG), all Swiss scholars who wish to conduct field work in Greece, or to study, photograph or draw objects in Greek museums, storerooms and sites or subject such objects to scientific analyses should request that appropriate application for permission be made to the Greek authorities on their behalf by the Swiss School.

Are considered as Swiss scholars Swiss citizens, graduates of Swiss Universities, as well as professors and assistants at Swiss universities. Only projects directed or co-directed by one or more Swiss scholars will be endorsed by the ESAG.

Permit requests fall into three categories:

1. Requests to study, draw, and/or photograph objects.

These must be submitted through the School to the relevant Ephorates of Antiquities. They should be sent to the Secretary of the School (admin@esag.swiss). These requests may be made at any time. Processing is expected to take one month or more.

  • Requests for permission to study fully published objects should include picture(s) and precise bibliographical reference(s) for each item as well as museum inventory numbers, when possible.
  • Requests for permission to study unpublished objects should also include a letter of authorization from the excavator or other relevant authority, including the Greek Archaeological Society, if appropriate.
  • Requests to study any material from excavations of other Foreign Schools, Greek Universities or the Archaeological Society must be accompanied by a letter of consent from the head of the relevant institution. Such documents should be obtained before applying to the School, and should be included with the request to the School.


2. Requests for analysing samples.

These must be submitted at any time through the Swiss School to the relevant Ephorates of Antiquity the Section of Applied Research of the Directorate of Conservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments, which is responsible for giving the relevant permission. The requests should be sent to the Director of the School. Applications must include:

  • a detailed list of objects, sherds or organic materials from which samples will be taken.
  • a description of the chemical or physical method/analysis which will be used.
  • the size or weight of the sample to be taken, with indication whether they are complete or fragmentary objects.
  • a statement of whether the analytical method is destructive or non-destructive.
  • photographs of all objects from which samples will be taken and will be analyzed, with a statement as to their origin.
  • A document summarizing the wider framework of the request and the ultimate reason for analysing the material (conservation or further research), as well as the name of the laboratory and of the person in charge.

No sample may be taken that removes part of a complete ancient object. No request for the application of a destructive method will be considered if there is a non-destructive method for accomplishing the same purpose of research. Permission will not be granted to remove any pieces of building material whicht may cause further damage to the monument (only fragments ready to break off).
The export of samples is discouraged and granted only when it can be demonstrated that analysis is impossible in Greece due to lack of technical facilities.

3. Requests for excavations, field surveys, and "synergasia" field projects.

The Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece is entitled by Greek Law (#4858/2021) to three excavations or surveys each year and three joint Greek-Swiss projects (synergasia). One of these has traditionally been the School’s own excavation at Eretria.
Applications must be send in electronic form to the Director of the Swiss School well ahead of the project season. After approval, the School will then apply to the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism on behalf of the applicant(s) and associated cooperating institution(s). Submission is made through the Swiss School to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in November. Even though the School submits its requests to the Ministry in November, it does not usually receive replies until the end of April. The detailed procedure to request a permit for excavations, field surveys, and synergasia is described below.


A. Ongoing fieldwork project

In order to submit the permit requests, the School needs the following information by the end of September:

  • A report on the previous season’s work, accompanied by photos and/or maps.
  • A brief (no more than two pages) summary of what work is intended for the coming season, including a topographical plan of the area to be excavated/surveyed (scale 1:5000), the dates of the season, the various types of work that are to take place, and the names and specialties of as many staff members as are known, including the CVs of all scientific personnel.
  • If scientific studies are intended, exactly what these studies entail and who will carry them out.


B. New fieldwork project

Persons considering applying for a new project are strongly encouraged to consult well in advance with the relevant Ephorate(s) and the Director of the Swiss School. No project will be endorsed by the Swiss School without the full support of the relevant Ephorate(s). An application form is available to candidate for a new fieldwork project, to be submitted by the end of January a year before the project is supposed to be initiated.
Application must include the following documents:

  • An Abstract summarizing the research plan and intellectual goals of the project.
  • A full statement of the research plan intellectual goals of the project including relevant bibliography.
  • A statement of method and techniques to be employed. The names and specialties of the staff who are to participate in the work.
  • CV of director(s) and of each senior staff member.
  • The exact dates of the field work which should not be more than 4-6 weeks and the overall length of the program. The fieldwork should be planned to start not earlier than April 1st of each year.
  • A budget for the work and evidence that funds are available and/or have been applied for. See also below.


Other supporting documents:

  • A brief written statement of support for the project from the Proistamenos of the relevant Ephorate. This requires personal and direct communication in person with the Proistamenos.
  • The contacts which have been made with local authorities about the work, and what support is forthcoming from them.
  • The precise location and area to be excavated/surveyed. This should be described verbally and clearly indicated on a detailed map of scale 1:5,000.
  • If a permit for excavation is sought, a statement on the legal disposition of the land and how this has been determined is required. If the land on which you wish to excavate is privately owned, you must provide a plan for land acquisition and transference to the Greek government (purchase or expropriation or both) that has been agreed upon with the Proistamenos of the relevant Ephorate and indicate what progress has been made in negotiations with the landowners. See more
  • If the project will employ workers, an explanation addressing how IKA (social security) will be paid for them.
  • Evidence of support from the cooperating institution(s) of which the project director(s) is a member.
  • A statement outlining publication plans for the project, including plans for regular preliminary and final reports, as well as archive management plans (long-term storage and preservation of electronic data).


C. Synergasia

If a synergasia is contemplated, the name(s) of the Greek co-director(s) and a clear outline of the divisions of labor and responsibilities between the Greek and Swiss teams, including a statement that each side will provide one-half of the required funds and staff for each season. In synergasia projects, and according to the directive of the Ministry of June 2002, the two teams must sign a “protocol of cooperation” before the beginning of their project. In this protocol the two teams must describe the intellectual purpose of the synergasia, the duration and the budget. The synergasia project is equally divided between the two parties and the Greek side is the director of the project. To submit a fieldwork project in synergasia, the above rules  apply (see B. New fieldwork project), including application form and deadlines.


D. Reports and archives

At the end of each season all projects should submit to the Director a report of activities (as a Word document) accompanied by photos and/or maps. The report must be submitted by the end of September, in order to be translated into Greek and sent to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the relevant ephorates and directorates, and Archaiologikon Deltion. The report will be sent to foreign schools for inclusion in Archaeological Reports and Archaeology in Greece Online/Chronique des fouilles en ligne. An annual report will be sent to the periodical Antike Kunst.
All projects should conform to standardized procedures of field data recording. A digital copy of all the archives (excavation units, finds records, plans, photographs and so on) must be submitted to the Director at the end of each season.


E. Budget

According to article 44 of Greek Law 5351/32 : “During the whole period of the excavation and research until the final publication, the excavating Archaeological Society or Archaeological School is obliged to pay for, under the instructions of the relevant service of the ministry, the conservation of the uncovered remains, the support of walls, the filling of pits, or the drainage of water. Failure to fulfill the above (obligations) can be regarded, after consideration by the Central Archaeological Council, as a termination of the excavation. If no museum or other available appropriate public building exists near the place of excavation, the excavator (and surveyor) has the obligation to pay for the temporary safe storage of the discoveries.”

To apply for a new fieldwork project, please contact director@esag.swiss