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Whose Archaeological Site Is It? The public's involvement in the caretaking and opening of archaeological sites in Switzerland

Cynthia Dunning Thierstein

Cite this as: Dunning Thierstein, C. 2020 Whose Archaeological Site Is It? The public's involvement in the caretaking and opening of archaeological sites in Switzerland, Internet Archaeology 54.


This article presents the roles of associations in the caretaking and presentation of archaeological sites and museums in Switzerland. These very popular non-governmental non-profit organisations can help the State agencies to ensure the preservation of archaeological sites under their control. However, a few challenges have to be solved to render the work of these institutions viable for the future.

The new exhibition in the Museum of Aventicum
The new exhibition in the Museum of Aventicum (Avenches) © Pro Aventico

Cet article présente le rôle des associations dans l'entretien et la présentation des sites archéologiques et des musées en Suisse. Ces organisations non gouvernementales à but non lucratif très populaires peuvent aider les services de l'Etat à développer la préservation des sites archéologiques sous leur responsabilité. Cependant, il reste encore quelques défis à relever pour rendre le travail de ces institutions viable pour l'avenir.

Dieser Artikel stellt die Rolle von Vereinen bei der Pflege und Präsentation von archäologischen Fundstellen Museen in der Schweiz vor. Diese sehr beliebten nichtstaatlichen gemeinnützigen Organisationen können den Behörden helfen, die Erhaltung archäologischer Fundstätten unter ihrer Kontrolle zu fördern. Dennoch müssen einige Herausforderungen gelöst werden, um die Arbeit dieser Institutionen zukunftsfähig zu machen.

  • Google Scholar
  • Keywords: archaeology, associations, caretaking, archaeological sites, public-private initiatives, presentation, democratic decision-making
  • Accepted: 1 November 2019. Published: 28 February 2020
  • The publication of this article is funded by the European Archaeological Council.

Corresponding author: Cynthia Dunning Thierstein

Full text

Figure 1: Screenshot of the homepage of Swiss Archaeology © Swiss Archaeology

Figure 2: The new exhibition in the Museum of Aventicum (Avenches) © Pro Aventico

Figure 3: Visitors using the stairs leading to the medieval ruins in Fenis-Hasenburg © ArchaeoConcept

Figure 4: Presenting information about the association during an archaeological week-end in Sarmenstorf (AG) © ArchaeoConcept

Figure 5: Discussing the future of archaeology and tourism during the 2012 conference © ArchaeoConcept

Table 1: Advantages and disadvantages of associations for archaeological heritage

Kamber, P. 2008 'Schatzgräber, Sammler und Gelehrte, Die Anfänge der Archäologie in Basel' in M. Benz (ed) Unter uns. Archäologie in Basel, Christoph Merian Verlag: Basel. 11-32.

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