Guidelines for procedures
Under the Antiquities Act, the National Board of Antiquities can grant permission for the study of fixed remains. Receiving a research permit requires that the project is lead by a qualified archaeologist. A detailed research plan and a report on the funding of the work have to be attached to the application. Sufficient resources need to be reserved, particularly for post-excavation work on objects requiring conservation. The treatment of the finds has to be carried out in a museum or other public facility suitable for the work and secure for the finds. The National Board of Antiquities can also lay down other conditions for permission if this is deemed necessary.
The permit applications for the investigation of ancient monuments and sites are handled by the Cultural Environment Protection. Further information is available from the National Board of Antiquities.
Under the Antiquities Act, the National Board of Antiquities can grant permission for the study of underwater relics under conditions laid down by it. Permits for so-called non-intrusive fieldwork that leaves the sites untouched can be granted to people who do not have archaeological qualifications. It is important, however, for the permit applicant has participated in amateur maritime archaeology courses and that the applicant discusses the study with the personnel in the National Board of Antiquities before the documentation work is carried out. Permission for research and excavations that interfere with the site can only be granted to a person or association with sufficient archaeological competence to carry out fieldwork and related post-excavation work and who has the ability to conserve the artefacts.
Systematic and extensive photography requiring specialist equipment is subject to official permission. Permit applications for underwater cultural heritage are handled by the the National Board of Antiquities.
Recreational diving to protected wrecks and sites is allowed but of course, the Antiquities Act has to be obeyed. Protected sites can be viewed but they may not be altered or harmed in any way. Artefacts or parts of structures must not be raised. Boats have to be anchored so far from these sites that the anchors cannot cause damage. It is not permitted to dive inside wrecks that are intact. The aim of these guidelines is to help us to protect underwater sites for the future generations.
Four wreck sites in Finland have a protected area around them: Gråharun, St. Mikael and Vrouw Maria in the Archipelago Sea and St. Nikolai outside Kotka.