The archaeological operation report is an administrative, scientific and patrimonial document, which presents the results of an operation and marks its completion.

Updated on
18 February 2019

The archaeological report is produced at the end of any archaeological operation, whether it is a diagnosis or a search (see article presenting the two types of operation). Designed and drafted by the archaeologist in charge of the operation, published by the operator of preventive archeology, the report is handed over to the State authorities for validation: this act marks the completion of the operation. The excavation report is also submitted to the expertise of the Inter-Regional Commission for Archaeological Research (CIR), which evaluates its scientific potential in particular with a view to publication.


The content and presentation of the operating reports are governed by the decree of 27 September 2004, published in the Official Gazette No. 240 of 14 October 2004, which provides for a three-section structure.

The  section

It recapitulates the administrative act, characterizes the intervention and reproduces the main regulatory documents relating to it: right-of-way plan, order of prescription, authorization order, etc.

The Second section

It is devoted to archaeological results proper, presented in their context: geographical situation, geomorphological environment, soil and geological substratum, historical period and archaeological occupation.

From the observations made and recorded on the ground, remains and furniture are carefully detailed and analyzed in the report: texts, figures, plans, sections, diagrams. There is also a phasing of these vestiges, and more generally, a chronological presentation by groups characterized as places of worship, habitat, necropolis, commerce, place of production, etc. The main findings are put into perspective according to the problems of archaeological research.

The diagnostic report can not achieve the same results, as it is primarily aimed at assessing the archaeological potential of a site to be developed. This is essentially an expertise aimed at guiding the services of the State in the decision of a possible continuation of the research in the form of a search.

The third section

It consists of inventories of two types:

  • Inventories of archaeological data relating to furniture, building structures and sedimentary layers uncovered
  • ​Inventories specific to the documentation produced during the operation, which constitutes the archives of the excavation: inventories of photographs, drawings, computer files, etc.
Rapport d'opération


The operation report is the primary publication of the site to which it relates, rich in new descriptions and analyzes. Several tens of thousands of volumes today constitute a corpus of very high scientific value.

Multipurpose document - administrative, scientific, heritage - the archaeological report always carries new knowledge and reflections.

In 2009, Inrap undertook to valorise its contribution to this exceptional documentary corpus. For example, the Dolia catalog lists approximately 29,000 reports, representing 41,150 volumes kept in the archaeological centers of the institute. Some of these reports are available online. Note that the transaction report is protected by the Intellectual Property Code.

Catalog Dolia

The reports of archaeological operations carried out by the Inrap are referenced, and for part of them, can be consulted online on the catalog Dolia which lists the documentary resources preserved by the institute. In addition to the documentation produced by the Inrap in the context of its archaeological operations, this catalog also characterizes and locates the documentation acquired by the institute (usual, monographs, periodicals).


BESSON (Claire), CHAOUI-DERIEUX (Dorothée). — L'accès à la documentation scientifique. Les Nouvelles de l'archéologie n° 130/décembre, 2012, 64 p. <>.
Le réseau Archéo-IdF. — Le rapport de fouille, une matière première difficile à extraire. Les Nouvelles de l'archéologie n° 130/décembre, 2012, p. 17-21. [consultation du 17/09/2015]. <>. DOI : 10.4000/nda.1913.

SIMON-MILLOT (Rolande). — Un inventaire, des inventaires. Les Nouvelles de l'archéologie n° 130/décembre, 2012, p. 22-23. [consultation du 17/09/2015]. <>. DOI : 10.4000/nda.1933.

BESSON (Claire). — L’avis de la Cira et le rapport d’opération archéologique : un mariage de raison ? Les Nouvelles de l'archéologie n° 130/décembre, 2012, p. 24-26. [consultation du 17/09/2015]. <>. DOI : 10.4000/nda.1935.

SOULIER (Philippe) dir. — Le rapport de fouille archéologique : réglementation, conservation, diffusion. Paris : Éditions de Boccard, 2010. 18 articles, 190 p. (Travaux de la Maison René-Ginouvès ; 11).