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Raahe Pattijoki Kastelli, jätinkirkko
Kastelli Giant's Church (Finnish: Kastellin jätinkirkko) is a prehistoric stone enclosure. Photograph by Vesa Laulumaa, National Board of Antiquities

Official Protection

Relics and antiquities are protected as evidence of Finland's past settlement and history. They are the only existing source material for the prehistoric era. In the cultural landscape they form the oldest elements that can be dated and, consequently, they provide a starting point for the examining different aspects of the landscape. Many prehistoric antiquities are significant sights and educational locations when they have been restored, maintained and marked with signs.

In practice, planning work means that the National Board of Antiquities follows the effects of land use plans on antiquities and issues statements on their protection to land owners, municipalities, planning bodies and authorities; in addition, the board organises and monitors archaeological investigated necessitated by protection.

The Antiquities Act

Antiquities are protected in Finland under the Antiquities Act (295/63). Under the act "fixed antiquities are protected as reminders of Finland's past settlements and history. Without permission granted under this act it is prohibited to dig, cover, modify, damage, remove or physically interfere with antiquities".

The Antiquities Act protects automatically without separate measures antiquities which are within definition the act and prohibits action that might endanger the preservation of the relic. Fixed relics do not have any age limit. The act refers to both prehistoric and historic objects. The most recent conservation measures concern defence works from World War II.

The Antiquities Act orders that the planner of public land-use projects or town plans must examine the effects of the plan on antiquities. According to the act, the party responsible for a public or a large private project is required to fund the research work caused by the project.

If a fixed archaeological relic is found in excavation work, the act orders that the work is to be discontinued and that the National Board of Antiquities or the provincial museum is to be informed of the matter. The aim of regular field inventories and marking the objects on multi-level plans is that the developer or landowner would not have to face such difficult situations.
Children at an Iron Age cremation cemetery in Vainionmäki in Laitila.
The aim of the Antiquities Act is to ensure that the national heritage is preserved to be seen and studied by future generations. Photograph by Jyri Saukkonen.

Antiquities Act (Only in Finnish)


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Last updated 3.2.2017
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