Intellectual property and cultural heritage issues for museums of archaeological materials

Pınar Oruç, Uma Suthersanen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


When archaeological heritage is held in museums, the clash between living systems with the static analogue or digital objects includes questions on the ownership of the object, especially in relation to intellectual property and cultural heritage. This chapter examines the role of museums in their treatment of archaeological heritage, and how it affects the nature and location of artefacts. In doing so, we focus on how intellectual property law, especially copyright, weaves into the narrative when considering tangible and intangible heritage using the Sutton Hoo dig and the Mãori heritage as case studies. We argue that controversies can be real not only in relation to museum practices of digitization but also with the quest for the 'true owner'. We conclude that when 'old things' are reimagined, both as culture and as digital surrogates, a key issue is how to negotiate ownership and guardianship as constructs of 'time'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Intellectual Property and Cultural Heritage
EditorsIrini Stamatoudi
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781800376908
ISBN (Print)9781800376908
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
PublisherEdward Elgar


  • Intellectual property
  • Cultural heritage
  • Archaeological heritage
  • museums
  • law


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