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Archaeological missions


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports Italian archaeological, anthropological, and ethnological missions abroad, covering a chronological range from prehistory to the medieval era and spanning geographically from the Greco-Roman world to the Near, Middle, and Far East, Africa, and Latin America.

Support for these missions is provided through an annual call for applications managed by Office VI.

Requests for support can be submitted by entities with legal personality, both public and private. These requests are submitted by mission directors or individuals delegated by them to access the Archaeology portal. Each director can submit a maximum of three requests.

The two types of support offered by MAECI are:

  1. Funding (a contribution of no more than 70% of the total expenses incurred).
  2. Institutional recognition (R.I.).

In 2023, 279 missions were supported in 71 countries, a number never reached before, promoted by 42 public institutions and 24 private research centers, covering all disciplinary areas, from paleoanthropology to prehistory, from palace civilizations to classical, medieval, Byzantine, and Islamic archaeology.

Research, Training, and Knowledge Transfer
In addition to contributing to the knowledge and preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of partner countries, these missions, in collaboration with various actors from local communities, have an impact on the socioeconomic fabric of the areas where they operate. Through fieldwork, numerous training opportunities, and knowledge transfer, the countries hosting our missions benefit from highly qualified personnel and Italian expertise in the use of new technologies and cutting-edge techniques for the restoration and protection of heritage.

Preservation and Safeguarding of Cultural and Environmental Heritage
Despite ongoing conflicts and situations of instability, Italy has continued to provide support to countries affected by these issues. Often, when unable to work on-site, our researchers have continued their work in documenting, cataloging, archiving, studying, and disseminating the results achieved, also contributing to the fight against the illegal trafficking of archaeological artifacts.

Since 2019, the so-called “green clause” has been included in the call, aiming to encourage the offsetting of carbon emissions through credits obtained from afforestation and reforestation activities. Many missions have long been involved in various initiatives to make excavation and research activities more sustainable, protect the environment, and raise awareness among local communities about environmental conservation.

MAECI supports two research missions in Vietnam:

Archaeological Investigations and Conservative Restoration of the Cham Monuments of My Son.
Foundation Ing. Carlo Maurilio Lerici
The mission, active since 2003 and directed by Dr. Mauro Cucarzi, is involved in archaeological research and restoration activities. In 2023, it will continue cataloging, inventorying, and assessing the risk of Cham monuments in My Son and the Quang Nam Province with the new version of the SMDB system created by the Lerici Foundation for these purposes, especially for Asian sites. Excavations of Group L and its consolidation will also continue. Training of restorers at the Restoration Laboratory at the Provincial Museum of Quang Nam in Tam Ky will also continue.

Study, Conservation, and Enhancement of Imperial Citadels in Vietnam.
The remains of ancient imperial citadels and Buddhist civil and religious monuments in Vietnam are an essential part of the history of the country’s diverse cultures and civilizations. The project, directed by Dr. Elena Gigliarelli since 2023, aims to develop a systematic and strategic approach to the study of this historical architectural heritage, through research and the reconstruction of its formation history, until the decline of many imperial citadels and their civil and religious monuments. It is worth noting that both the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and the Institute of Imperial Citadel Studies (IICS) have expressed their interest in collaborating within the framework of this project proposal, supporting and sharing its objectives, and assisting the team of experts in achieving all the project’s goals. Prospects include cooperation with other international research entities and activities for publication and dissemination, both nationally and internationally.