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-for archaeologists involved in contract archaeological work
The following text was approved by the members of the Association at the Annual Business Meeting, held in Goteborg (Sweden) on 26 September 1998. 


The membership of the EAA voted to approve and adopt a set of Principles of Conduct for archaeologists involved in contract archaeological work. These had been prepared by the EAA's Working Party on Commercial Archaeology, were aired at the Ravenna meeting in 1997, and were published in draft in The European Archaeologist 8 (Winter 1997). The draft principles were further discussed at a well attended and lively round table held at the Göteborg meeting.

The text that was approved by the membership is reproduced below. The Principles of Conduct help to define the standards of conduct expected of professional archaeologists in Europe.

Two important changes were made as a result of the discussions at Göteborg. First, the earlier phrase "commercial archaeological work" was replaced with "contract archaeological work." This reflects the view that archaeology is not, in the end, a commercial activity (even though it is often carried out under contracts, of various kinds). Secondly, a new principle (No 14) was added. This reflects the importance of promoting both the principles and the means to make them work in practice. The need for adequate regulation of contract archaeology (normally by state or municipal authorities, but with professional associations also having a crucial role to play) is especially important.

Note: many of these principles apply equally to all kinds of archaeological work, but this code deals especially with issues arising from a contract system of funding.

  1. Archaeologists should ensure that they understand, and operate within, the legal framework within which the regulation of archaeological work takes place in that country.
  2. Archaeologists should ensure that they give the best possible advice to developers and planners, and should not advise on matters beyond their knowledge or competence.
  3. Archaeologists should ensure that they understand the structure of archaeological roles and responsibilities, the relationships between these roles, and their place in this structure.
  4. Archaeologists should avoid conflicts of interest between the role of giving advice in a regulatory capacity and undertaking (or offering to undertake) work in a contract capacity.
  5. Archaeologists should not offer to undertake contract work for which they or their organizations are not suitably equipped, staffed or experienced.
  6. Archaeologists should maintain adequate project control systems (academic, financial, quality, time) in relation to the work which they are undertaking. 
  7. Archaeologists should adhere to recognized professional standards for archaeological work.
  8. Archaeologists should adhere both to the relevant law and to ethical standards in the area of competition between archaeological organizations.
  9. Archaeologists involved in contract archaeological work should ensure that the results of such work are properly completed and made publicly available. 
  10. Archaeologists involved in contract archaeological work should ensure that archaeological information is not suppressed unreasonably or indefinitely (by developers or by archaeological organizations) for commercial reasons.
  11. Archaeologists involved in contract archaeological work should be conscious of the need to maintain the academic coherence of archaeology, in the face of a tendency towards fragmentation under a contract system of organization.
  12. Archaeologists involved in managing contract archaeological work should be conscious of their responsibilities towards the pay, conditions of employment and training, and career development opportunities of archaeologists, in relation to the effects of competition between archaeological organizations on these aspects of life.
  13. Archaeologists involved in contract archaeological work should recognize the need to demonstrate, to developers and to the public at large, the benefits of support for archaeological work.
  14. Where contract archaeology exists, all archaeologists (especially in positions of influence) should promote the application of this code, and promote development of the means to make it work effectively, especially adequate systems of regulation.

Go to: EAA Code of Practice

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Montreal-Rosemont, Qc 2002