매장문화재 국가귀속제도는 일제강점기의 문화재 법규에서 연유하여 문화재보호법을 거쳐 현행 매장문화재법에 계승되고 있다. 국가귀속제도는 국가문화유산의 근간을 형성하는 국가귀속문화재를 확정하는 절차로서 문화유산 분야에서 중요한 의미를 가지고있음에도 그동안 행정의 영역으로만 취급되어 학술적 연구나 정책적 검토에 소홀하였다. 최근 전통문화에 대한 국민들의 관심이 고조되고, 문화재가 지역의 문화적 정체성 확립과 관광 활성화에 촉매 역할을 할 수있다는 인식이 확산됨에 따라 지방자치단체의 국가귀속문화재 관리위임 요구가 증대하고 특히, 중요 유물의 확보와 관련해서는중앙과 지방 간 문화적 헤게모니 현상까지 나타나고 있다. 그런데, 국가귀속제도에 있어서 중요한 절차인 국가귀속대상 문화재 선정방식과 보관관리기관 지정과 관련해서는 그동안 지속적인개선 노력이 있었음에도 각계로부터 보다 객관적이고 합리적인 제도개선 요구를 받고 있다. 본 논문은 2011년 매장문화재 법제가제정·시행된 이후 그 운영과정에서 나타난 문제점과 개선과제를 도출하여 국가귀속제도의 정책 개선방안을 고찰하였다.
State Ownership of Excavated Cultural Heritage System was originated from the legislations concerning cultural objects during the Japanese colonial period (1910~1945) and was succeeded by the present Buried Cultural Properties Act enacted in 2011. Despite the importance of the system that completes the outcomes of excavations and determines the state-owned cultural properties, the foundation of national heritage, it has been limitedly regarded as administrative area and neglected by the academic scholars or policy researchers. Recently the traditional culture has drawn increasing domestic interest and awareness that the cultural heritage contributes to building cultural identity and vitalizing tourism has led to increasing the demand of a local government's role in management of the state-designated cultural heritage and even fighting for hegemony in securing the cultural objects between the central and local governments. Despite the continuing efforts for improving the selection process of cultural heritage and its management institution, establishment of an advanced objective system has been requested. This paper is intended to suggest the policy direction through demonstrating the problem and assignment caused in the process of implementing the Buried Cultural Properties Act and reviews the State Ownership of Excavated Cultural Heritage System from the legal point of view accordingly. First, I suggest improving the selection process of the state-owned cultural properties. Even though current law states that Administrator of Cultural Heritage Administration reviews the research reports and selects the possible candidates for the state-owned cultural properties almost all the cultural objects listed on the reports are practically selected. In this regard, two possible resolutions can be made; newly establishing a separate process for selecting the state-owned cultural properties after publishing the report or adding the selection process of the state-owned cultural properties during the heritage selection meeting. Either way should contribute to strengthening the impartiality and objectivity of the policy. My second suggestion is improving the operating system of the heritage selection meeting in which the cultural properties to be listed on the reports are determined. Given the present extensive assessment criteria, there is much room for certain experts' subjective opinions. Therefore, in order to enhance the fairness and credibility of the heritage selection meeting, specifying the assessment criteria and advance review of the expert list are necessary. Third, this paper suggests increasing the local government's role in management of the state-owned cultural heritage and diversifying the heritage management institution. Development of a local self-governing system has led to the increased demand for delegating the authority of the state-owned heritage management to the local governments. Along with this, the gradual improvements of public museum management raises the need for expanding the cultural benefits through increasing the local government's role in management of the state-owned heritage. Considering the fact that overall majority of the art collections housed at national or public museums is owned by the central government, developing a variety of heritage contents and vitalizing the heritage tourism are crucial. The true meaning and value of the state-owned cultural heritage hidden at the storage of a museum can be found when they are shared together with the public.