TAP has conducted cultural heritage studies as part of and to support the preparation of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) and avoidance of known archaeological sites as well as on-going studies to assist construction. These cultural heritage management plans are available on the website and present the controls and processes to ensure the preservation of archaeological artefacts and sites along the pipeline route.
TAP is working very closely with the relevant authorities in each host country, namely the Ministries of Culture, as well as the regional archaeological authorities: the Greek Ministry of Culture and Ephorates of Antiquities, the Albanian Archaeological Service Agency and the Italian Superintendence Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape (SABAP). In Albania, TAP is also collaborating with archaeology students from the University of Tirana.
At peak construction, approximately 600 archaeologists have been employed to work on the TAP project across the three host countries.
As an EU Project of Common Interest (PCI) and following the second Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Energy 2016 call for proposals, in February 2017, TAP was awarded a grant of €14,018,347. These amounts are being used to fund additional archaeological trial trench investigations and rescue excavations along the pipeline lots 2 and 3 in Greece (Kavala to Kastoria, approximately 360km in total).
A tailored approach
TAP monitors all ground-breaking activities and works closely with the local archaeological authorities to ensure the protection or rescue of all artefacts and chance finds (any unforeseen finds). This also provides conformance with host country national law and the TAP standards.
When a chance find is identified, work is immediately stopped, and a competent cultural heritage representative evaluates the site and appropriate actions are taken prior to the resumption of construction work. Mitigation measures, can entail:
- Preserving and protecting the find, if the pipeline construction activities do not affect the artefact site.
- Rescue excavations - preservation by record of archaeological sites.
- Lifting the chance find and handing it over to the authorities. This was the case of a column capital part of 6th century AD religious monument discovered during access roads construction works in Albania. TAP also transferred of a 29-tonne late Roman / early Byzantine ceramic kiln to the Komotini Archaeological Museum.
- Avoiding the archaeological site; for example using construction methods to avoid disturbing a site e.g. using boring equipment to install the pipe below the archaeological site. This is the case for the ancient Justinian Wall in the eastern section of the pipeline in Greece.