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In recent decades, rescue archaeology in Europe has uncovered a much larger number of remains than planned archaeology. The mass of information resulting from this preventive research is such that its processing is a colossal task, but also unavoidable if preventive excavations are not to become synonymous with the destruction of the remains – which is precisely what they are supposed to prevent. The effort that our society must make (in terms of time and financial resources in particular) may seem heavy, even insurmountable to some; nevertheless, this effort is imperative and essential, because preventive excavations raise major challenges, both scientific and societal. This article aims to detail these issues and analyse them in the light of the deleterious effects of neoliberal logic on rescue archaeology and the associated ecological and societal difficulties.
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