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Organizations of Professional Archaeologists

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Professional archaeological associations are organizations that are concerned with the ethics and professional behavior and actions of archaeologists, rather than directly with archaeology as the material remains of past human activities. These associations set, maintain, and improve standards for archaeologists, and membership in these associations allows individual archaeologists to set themselves apart by demonstrating their commitment to quality and ethical work. Membership does not bring a license to practice but the visibility of these memberships—which often include the right to postnominal abbreviations—can be promotional tools.
Second Edition
Neil Asher Silberman
Alexander A. Bauer Cornelius Holtorf
Margarita Díaz-Andreu Emma Waterton
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The Oxford companion to archaeology/ Neil Asher Silberman,
editor in chief. 2nd ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-19-973578-5 (acid-free paper) 1. ArchaeologyDictionaries.
I. Silberman, Neil Asher, 1950- II. Title: Companion to archaeology.
CC70.O96 2012
930.103dc23 2011051893
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(St. Albans), enclose several square miles. These
sites seem to be royal residences or estates, and
only small parts of them were occupied by settle-
ments of artisans and traders.
The Continental oppida have been claimed as the
earliest urban settlements in temperate Europe. In
western Europe, dendrochronological dates from
oppida such as Besançon date their foundation to
around 120 BC. Sites in central Germany and Cze-
choslovakia are somewhat earlier, founded probably
in the rst half of the second century BC. Oppida
that lie outside the subsequent Roman Empire were
generally abandoned in the second half of the rst
century BC, and urbanization did not reappear in
these areas until the Medieval Period. By contrast,
in France, Switzerland, Spain, and Britain, many
sites developed into Roman towns, and many still
continue today. Paris, Reims, Orléans, Chartres,
Bourges, Geneva, Ávila, Colchester, and St. Albans
are all sites whose origins lie in the oppidum period.
[See also Celts; Europe: The European Iron Age;
Europe: Roman and Post-Roman Europe; Hallstatt;
Hill Forts; Manching; Wheeler, Mortimer.]
Audouze, F., and O. Buchsenschutz. Towns, Villages, and
Countryside of Celtic Europe, 1991.
Collis, J. R. Oppida: Earliest Towns North of the Alps, 1984.
Fichtl, S. La ville celtique: les oppida de 150 av. J.-C. à 15
ap. J.-C., 2000.
John Collis
Professional archaeological associations are organi-
zations that are concerned with the ethics and pro-
fessional behavior and actions of archaeologists,
rather than directly with archaeology as the mate-
rial remains of past human activities.
These associations set, maintain, and improve
standards for archaeologists, and membership in
these associations allows individual archaeologists
to set themselves apart by demonstrating their
commitment to quality and ethical work. Member-
ship does not bring a license to practice but
the visibility of these membershipswhich often
include the right to postnominal abbreviations
can be promotional tools.
Subscribing to a shared ethical code recognizes
an individuals personal responsibility to be held
accountable for their professional behavior. The
principle behind this is that by formally acknowl-
edging this relationship between personal actions
and the wider discipline of archaeology, the mem-
bership of a professional association is what sets the
professional archaeologist apart from all others who
are involved with or interested in archaeology.
Occupations professionalize by dening their ac-
tivities on the basis of technical competence and
shared ethical norms, and professional associations
have taken on the role of testing competence, main-
taining standards, and regulating discipline. This
means that professional associations in archaeology
should hold codes of conduct that apply equally to
all members and have entry conditions for member-
ship; in order to maintain credibility, professional
associations need to be able to show that transgres-
sion of those codes of conduct leads to disciplinary
procedures, such as expulsion from the association.
Codes of conduct that are held by bodies that do not
undertake quality control of membership criteria,
and that cannot impose sanctions for transgression
of such a codesuch as the European Association of
Archaeologists or the World Archaeological Con-
gresscan only be guides that help to shape shared
principles; they have no power or means to enforce
quality standards in practice or behavior.
Self-regulation is seen as the route to ensure com-
mon standards, as (normally) governments cannot,
or choose not to, impose the regulations that ar-
chaeologists need; archaeologists can join an asso-
ciation and democratically decide what regulations
apply (if they are lawful); and so, if enough archae-
ologists (a majority of practitioners) join, the pro-
fession as a whole is regulated. Until that majority
of practitioners join, only the committed minority
can be seen as meeting and working to professional
While professional associations are inevitably
concerned with workplace issues, they do so in
order to raise standards, and expressly do not seek
to intervene between employers and employees
they are neither employerstrade associations nor
trade unions, seeking to represent workers and to
support their rights. Typically, nationally organized
archaeological professional associations welcome
members based in and working in other countries;
the associationscodes of conduct are binding upon
members wherever they work in the world.
The commercialization of archaeology and its
transformation to a business-orientated profession
where an unwilling client contracts for undesired
work to a company that owes its continuing exis-
tence to pleasing that client(Fowler, 1984, p. 109)
has led to conicts of interests and subsequent
ethical dilemmas.
It is in these situations that the standards and
ethical codes presented by professional associations
are key, as they form the guide to what is, and what
is not, acceptable behavior in nding a resolution
this is not an issue of conict, but of ethical
relativism leading to decisions being made between
competing priorities.
In mid-2011 approximately 2,400 archaeologists
(primarily, but not solely, in the United States) had
signed up to the Register of Professional Archaeol-
ogists (RPA). This is a listing of archaeologists who
have agreed to abide by an explicit code of conduct
and standards of research performance(http:// Founded in 1998 the RPA is the
successor to the Society of Professional Archaeolo-
gists (SOPA), which was established in 1976 to meet
a perceived need by the archaeological community
and federal agencies to identify standards of profes-
sional conduct and to recognize the archaeologists
that met these standards(Lynott, 1997, p. 591). This
organization originally developed as a committee of
the Society for American Archaeology, and as well as
leading to RPA, SOPA was the model for comparable
professional associations for archaeologists to be
established elsewhere in the world.
The RPAs Code of Conduct is broken down into
three parts, and it is entirely presented in terms of
the responsibility of the archaeologistto the pub-
lic; to colleagues, employees, and students; and to
employers and clients. This ethical code establishes
shared principles and collective responsibility for
their upholding. Through this commitment to col-
lective responsibility, all of those that subscribe to
the code know what constitutes acceptable stan-
dards of individual practice and behavior.
The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA), the profes-
sional association for archaeologists in the United
Kingdom, was established in 1982 and was known as
the Institute of Field Archaeologists until 2008. This
had followed earlier unsuccessful attempts in the
1970s to form such an organization, which suffered
from a backlash from unpaid amateurs who saw this
as a threat to their hobby.
In 2011 it merged witheffectively absorbing
the much smaller Association of Archaeological Il-
lustrators and Surveyors. An earlier exploration of a
potential merger with the Institute of Historic Build-
ing Conservation (IHBC) (the majority of whose
members are conservation ofcers, advising local
authorities on historic buildings) was actively pur-
sued by IfA, seeking to establish a larger, and there-
fore more inuential, professional institute for
all individuals working in the historic environment,
but this was rebuffed by IHBC staff and elected
The IfAs Code of Conduct is concerned with
professionalism in the course of work, the Code of
Practice, together with Standards and Guidance
documents, is concerned with the practical matters
of working in archaeology. Introduced 1996 and
reformed in draft in 2009, IfA minimum salary re-
commendations appear now generally to be met and
widespread employment abuses are a thing of the
past, but archaeological salaries still fail to reect the
skills and responsibilities of the sector, falling behind
those of comparator disciplines by some margin.
The institute had over 2,850 members in 2010 (75
percent of whom are corporate members, the rest
being student or afliate members), but this total is
less than 50 percent of all archaeologists in paid
employment in the United Kingdom. That means
that the institutes chief executive considers that the
majority of paid archaeologists are not profes-
sionals(Hinton, 2011). However, the IfA Register
of Organisations, which is the institutes activity
that lies closest to the trade association end of the
professional institute spectrum, is perhaps its most
successful enterprise, rigorously assessing organiza-
tionscompliance with the code of conduct and
expanding suite of standards, with 62 registered
organizations listed in the IfA 2010 yearbook, em-
ploying 2,286 individuals.
With a corporate membership that equates to
31 percent of the workforce (in June 2010), and
registered organizations employing (an overlap-
ping) 33 percent, it could be argued that IfA does
represent the majority of individuals working in
archaeology in the United Kingdom. If IfA does
indeed represent a majority of the sectoral work-
force, then a potential obstacle to the institutes
declared objective of chartership is overcome. Cur-
rently, IfA membership carries out self-regulation
without legal recognition, the model of professional
regulation with the least government interaction. At
the other end of this scale, some professions are
directly regulated by law, such as doctors or law-
yersand between these are professional associa-
tions incorporated by royal charter, which many of
archaeologys working partner sectors are, such as
engineers, planners, or architects. This is seen by the
institute as the model that would generate parity of
esteemand rewardfor its membership.
Few professional associations that have the abil-
ity to impose meaningful sanctions upon their
membership actually exist in European archaeology.
At the time of writing, other than the Institute for
Archaeologists, only four nationally based organiza-
tions can be truly considered to be professional
associations as dened herethe Nederlandse Ver-
eniging van Archeologen (NVvA) in the Netherlands,
the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland (IAI), the
Magyar Régész Szövetség (MRSZ, Association of
Hungarian Archaeologists), and the Associação Pro-
ssional de Arqueólogos (APA) in Portugal. Archae-
ological legislation and management is organized
on a regional, rather than a national, basis in some
countries, such as Spain, where organizations such
as the Asociación Madrileña de Trabajadores y Tra-
bajadoras en Arqueología (AMTTA) exists, a profes-
sional association for archaeologists working in the
autonomous region of Madrid.
Canadian professional archaeology is organized
on a province-by-province basis, with provincial
professional associations such as the Ontario Asso-
ciation of Professional Archaeologists, which has
a code of ethics and grievance procedure and
was established in 1990 in response to changes in
planning law, and the British Columbia Association
of Professional Archaeologists (established in 1995).
The Canadian Association of Professional Heritage
Consultants rst met in 1986; it was initially very
archaeologically focused and concerned about com-
petition between private and state agencies, but
now encompasses wider heritage concerns.
The Australian Archaeological Association has a
code of ethics and a mechanism for ejecting mem-
bers, but there is no quality control on entry. The
Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists
(AACAI) does promote standards, has an accredita-
tion process for full members, and they can be
disciplined and ejected, but membership is limited
to consultants.
Demoule (2010) considers that professional asso-
ciations are only appropriate in societies that follow
an Anglo-Saxon model and are unnecessary in
countries where the state has a much stronger role
in heritage management. The development of pro-
fessional associations in archaeology where this is
the case has been limitedthere is no professional
association as such in Japan; while membership
of the Japanese Archaeological Association does
involve subscribing to a code of ethics, membership
is based upon academic publication and this is
essentially a learned society. In that country the
state, through the Agency for Cultural Affairs, reg-
ulates invasive archaeological work through an
excavation licensing system.
In archaeology, to a degree, Demoules self-fulll-
ing prophecy appears to be largely truethe longest
established professional archaeological associations
are in the United Kingdom and United States, where
the national or federal governments have long held
hands-off approaches to heritage management, but
such organizations have increasingly emerged in
some of the states where there were signicant
transitions away from state control of the economy
in the late twentieth century and where archaeolog-
ical practice has been commercialized.
By subscribing to shared and enforced codes of
ethics, archaeologists become able to resolve ethical
dilemmas for the common good, both of the archae-
ological profession and of the historic environment.
[See also Archaeological Societies; Ethics of
Aitchison, K. Ethical Issues in European Professional
Archaeology.Public Archaeology 6, no. 2 (2007):
Burrow, I. Licensing, Self-regulation, Incentives or the
Invisible Hand;? Prospects for Professional Archae-
ology in the United States.Paper presented to the
European Association of ArchaeologistsAnnual
Meeting, Oslo, 17 September 2011.
Demoule, J.-P. The CrisisEconomic, Ideological, and
Archaeological.In Archaeology and the Global Eco-
nomic Crisis: Multiple Impacts, Possible Solutions, edi-
ted by N. Schlanger and K. Aitchison, 2010. http://
Fowler, D. D. Ethics in Contract Archaeology.In Ethics
and Values in Archaeology, edited by E. L. Green,
pp. 108116, 1984.
Hinton, P. What the Dickens Happened to the IFA?In
Great Excavations: Shaping the Archaeological Profes-
sion, edited by J. Schoeld, 2011.
IfA (Institute for Archaeologists). Yearbook and Direc-
tory, 2010.
Lynott, M. J. Ethical Principles and Archaeological
Practice: Development of an Ethics Policy.American
Antiquity 62, no. 4 (1997): 589599.
Price, F., and K. Geary. Benchmarking Archaeological
Salaries, 2008.
Kenneth Aitchison
Along the margins of the Oslofjord, Norway, a series
of impressive Viking Age boat graves was discovered
in the nineteenth century; at Oseberg, 43 miles
(70 km) from Oslo, on the west side of the fjord in
Vestfold County, the richest boat grave known from
Viking Age Scandinavia was excavated in 1904. The
burial was covered by a large mound of peat over-
lying a blue clay subsoil; together, these soils pre-
served the ships timbers, as well as other wooden
objects and textiles. The grave had been disturbed in
antiquity, however, and presumably robbed of items
of precious metalwork, which are conspicuously
The ship, built almost entirely of oak, in clinker-
style construction, was 70.5 feet (21.5 m) long,
17 feet (5.1 m) broad, and 4.9 feet (1.5 m) deep.
It had thirty oars and a side rudder, with a mast
estimated at 43 feet (13 m) tall. Other ttings
included an iron anchor, a gangplank, and a bailer.
Several characteristics of the shipits size, the elab-
orately carved decoration at the stem and stern, its
relative frailtysuggest that it was used by aristo-
crats or royalty for coastal voyages.
Skeletal remains of two women were found in the
ship. One, aged sixty to seventy, suffered badly from
arthritis and other maladies; the second was aged
twenty-ve to thirty. It is not clear which was the
more important in life, or whether one was ritually
sacriced to accompany the other in death. Both
the opulence of the burial rite and the quantity of
the items interred point to this being a burial of very
high status. Dendrochronological analysis of tim-
bers from the grave chamber erected within the
ship dates the burial to AD 834. Suggestions are
speculative that the name Oseberg means Aasas
burial mound,and that this is the burial of Queen
Aasa mentioned in Ynglingatal, a poem praising the
Vestfold kings.
The robbers left in place items of little value to
them, which are nonetheless of exceptional rarity
and interest to archaeologists. They include elabo-
rately decorated wooden sledges, a cart or carriage,
and ve nely carved posts from some item of
furniture. These are important representations of
contemporary art styles, and have gured promi-
nently in discussions of Viking artistic development.
There are also more mundane but still high-quality
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Unsettling conditions surrounding the contemporary practice of archaeology have generated an urgent need for clear ethical guidelines. The Principles of Archaeological Ethics were developed to help meet this need and provided in draft form to the Society for American Archaeology membership for review as part of a Special Report (Lynott and Wylie 1995b). Since that initial publication, two additional principles have been developed, and the original six principles have been revised and published in this journal (61:451-452). The changes were made in response to comments provided by the membership and the Executive Board. The principles are intended to serve as ethical ideals rather than a code of professional conduct.
Licensing, Self-regulation, Incentives or theInvisible Hand;'? Prospects for Professional Archaeology in the United States
  • I Burrow
Burrow, I. " Licensing, Self-regulation, Incentives or the 'Invisible Hand;'? Prospects for Professional Archaeology in the United States. " Paper presented to the European Association of Archaeologists' Annual Meeting, Oslo, 17 September 2011.
The Crisis—Economic, Ideological, and Archaeological In Archaeology and the Global Economic Crisis: Multiple Impacts, Possible Solutions
  • J.-P Demoule
Demoule, J.-P. " The Crisis—Economic, Ideological, and Archaeological. " In Archaeology and the Global Economic Crisis: Multiple Impacts, Possible Solutions, edited by N. Schlanger and K. Aitchison, 2010. http://
Ethics in Contract Archaeology
  • D D Fowler
Fowler, D. D. " Ethics in Contract Archaeology. " In Ethics and Values in Archaeology, edited by E. L. Green, pp. 108–116, 1984.
What the Dickens Happened to the IFA
  • P Hinton
Hinton, P. " What the Dickens Happened to the IFA? " In Great Excavations: Shaping the Archaeological Profession, edited by J. Schofield, 2011.
Institute for Archaeologists) Yearbook and Directory
  • Ifa
IfA (Institute for Archaeologists). Yearbook and Directory, 2010.
Benchmarking Archaeological Salaries
  • F Price
  • K Geary
Price, F., and K. Geary. Benchmarking Archaeological Salaries, 2008. default/files/node-files/ifa_salary_benchmarking.pdf.