THE PALESTINIAN DEPARTMENT OF ANTIQUITIES & CULTURAL HERITAGE
The Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage (DACH) has been in existence now for more than 12 years since its re-establishment in August 1994. The inauguration of the DACH, under the Palestinian National Authority, was a momentous event and represents the revival of the Department of Antiquities established in 1920 under the British Mandate and terminated with the political events of 1948, when Israel was established. Subsequently, Jordan assumed those responsibilities for the West Bank, and Egypt for the Gaza strip.
When the DACH was established it possessed no archaeological records or finds from excavations undertaken previously.
Moreover, because of inadequate opportunities for field training, the Department inherited a serious shortage of qualified personnel. The new situation gives Palestinians an independent role to explore the history of Palestine from its primary material sources, a task reserved until recently for foreign archaeologists. This situation had often led to the political and ideological use of this material and interpretation without objective scientific controls.
The establishment of the DACH marks the beginning of the local field school of archaeology. The perspective on which the Department is basing its efforts in research, education, preservation, and legislation is basically that of contemporary internationally accepted standards. It is the modern humanistic understanding that views the integral role of Palestinian culture within Archaeology in Palestine human culture, making archaeology in Palestine a scientific enterprise within the setting of international scientific Endeavour. The old antiquities law of 1929 was grounded in the conventional concept of archaeology.