Degrees of Importance

Not all archaeological sites are of equal importance in their potential to inform our understanding of past human culture. In many countries, systems for assigning value or importance to archaeological sites have been developed in order to identify sites and monuments which should be preserved in situ wherever possible and those which may be investigated and recorded before being destroyed by development.

In the UK, archaeological sites and graded as being of international/national significance, regional significance or local significance based on a combination of factors including rarity, condition, documentation and threat. Sites of international/national significance may be afforded legal protection through a system of designation.


Archaeological sites degrees (1st, 2nd and 3rd) in Turkey.

In Turkey, the degree of importance is classed as 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree. Archaeological sites that are considered to be of 1st degree importance may not be disturbed and there is a system in place for determining permission to develop for those classed as 2nd or 3rd degree.

Immovable cultural property to be conserved in the title-deed and classified in the 1st, 2nd degrees and building lots of immovable cultural properties on which construction works are definitely prohibited due to being archaeological sites and natural sites.

3rd degree is conservation areas, around historical building or archeological sites and ruins.


“Natural Properties” are all properties above or underground or underwater that belong to geological, prehistoric or historic periods and deserve to be conserved due to their uniqueness, characteristics or beauties.

“Archaeological Sites” are areas that reflect civilizations from the prehistoric period to the present and that involve towns or remains of towns reflecting the social, economic, architectural or other qualities of their era or places that have been subject to social life where intensive cultural properties are present, or places where significant historic events have taken place and their designated territories to be conserved for their natural characteristics.

“Conservation Areas” mean areas to be imperatively conserved for the protection and preservation of immovable cultural and natural property within their historical context.


In other countries, for example Poland, all archaeological sites recorded on the national register of archaeological sites must be investigated in advance of construction. In Norway, archaeological sites and protected under the Cultural Heritage Act and developers must apply to the relevant authority for exemptions in order to develop a site which may have archaeological implications. Other European countries may have different systems as well and developers will need to ensure they are familiar with the legislation and standards in the country they are working in.

Exercises