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Archaeologists argue in open court, the regulation of their profession

06-04-2011 11:56

    The measure may benefit about three thousand professionals and improve the national archaeological heritage protection.

    About 100 professionals attended today at the offices of Attorney-General in Sao Paulo, a public audience to discuss the regulation of the profession of archaeologist. The matter has been discussed for years, has had a project of law approved and then vetoed by the President of the Republic and now a new project is currently pending in National Congress.

    "The purpose of the audience is to listen to authorities and professionals" said the prosecutor of the Republic Ines Virginia Prado Soares, organizer of the event and responsible for a public civil inquiry that is investigating the lack of regulation of the profession.

    The Coordinator of Working Group about Federal Public Heritage in the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) the prosecutor of republic Ana Cristina Bandeira Lins believes the regulation is about to come. She explained the project that is transacting in the Congress had a formal vice since it envisaged the creation of a council for the profession. "The project was introduced by the legislature and therefore could not foresee the creation of the council, which is initiated by the Executive". She said this problem has been resolved.

    The president of the Brazilian Society of Archaeology (SAB), Eduardo Neves, said that besides the regulation is necessary to find mechanisms to the "responsible and coherent" exercise for the practice of archeology, because the "damage may be irreversible." The prosecutor of Justice Marcos Paulo, coordinator of the Historic Heritage from the Public Ministry of Minas Gerais State, participated form the audience and emphasized the importance the professional of the area take the most possible advantage from the current legal system: "The biggest problem in Brazil is not lack of laws but the lack of law enforcement," he noted.

    According to the prosecutor from Minas Gerais, most archaeologists working in Brazil are "qualified and committed." But he noted the existence of a small group, divided into three categories: "mercantilist, reckless or adventurous." Marcos Paulo considers essential that there be an awareness that the archaeological heritage is an asset of the Union "You cannot commercialize the profession" he said.

    It is estimated that currently there are about three thousand archaeologists working in the country. Each year at least 100 new professionals come to market. The profession nowadays is on high, since the environmental licensing law requires archaeological analysis.

    The director of the National Centre of Archaeology of Institute of National Historic and Archaeological Heritage(Iphan), Maria Clara Migliacio considers the regulation of the profession a crucial step. She explained that today that the Iphan has "discretionary power" to authorize or to veto the participation of archaeologists on specific projects. "If the criteria are clear and transparent, we can move beyond the subjective judgments" she said.

    The prosecutor of the Republic Zani Souza Cajueiro, from the Federal Public Ministry of Minas Gerais, agrees with the position of IPHAN. "When it is not clear who is and is not an archaeologist, the work of IPHAN is very difficult," she said. According to the prosecutor, the environmental licensing in Brazil "is far from respecting the archaeological heritage" which requires a new attitude of the professionals. "You have to differentiate the archaeological survey of the archeology of the contract," she suggested.

    The public hearing was also attended by the director of the Department of Heritage Material and Inspection of Iphan Daldo Vieira Filho, head of the Archaeology Department at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Ana Catarina Peregrino Torres Ramos, and the prosecutor of the Republic Livia Tinôco, state of Sergipe.

    At the end of the work, SAB announced that it will work on two fronts in the discussion of professional regulation. In Congress, the category intend to try to amend the law in process and, internally, will discuss self-regulation with his associates. According to Neves, the current text of the code of practice will be placed back on the website of SAB (www.sabnet.com.br) for discussion of the category. A new event to discuss the topic, organized by the FPM, will occur in the second semester.

Source: Federal public Ministry Site – Attorney of the Republic in São Paulo