The EAA Executive Board has composed and adopted the following Code, which is to be read alongside the EAA Principles.

1a. Preamble

Archaeology is the multi-faceted study of the past and its remains which generates knowledge and understanding for the benefit of humanity. Archaeological research can be destructive of material but also serves to preserve it. The objective of this Code is to inspire good practice for the members of the European Association of Archaeologists, both amongst their colleagues and amongst other parties in society.

It should be noted that, recognising that all Members of the Association are seeking to conduct themselves in a professional manner, this Code places the responsibility for making ethical judgements on the individual archaeologist who carries the responsibility for conforming to its requirements: failure to meet the standards set here may result in sanctions against the Member by the Association.

1b. Archaeologists in society

i. Archaeologists must respect individual human rights and never practice any form of discrimination against individuals.
ii. The removal of archaeological remains from their depositional context is an inherently destructive activity. Archaeological work should be practised carefully, with scientific, social, cultural benefits and the wellbeing of present and future societies in mind.
iii. Archaeologists should have regard for the interests and viewpoints of all stakeholders concerning the past and its remains, considering that archaeology is a scientific activity in the most comprehensive sense, and works for the benefit of humanity.
iv. Archaeologists should strive to carry out their work to the highest professional standards recognised by their peers.
v. Archaeologists have a duty to take part in continuing professional development relevant to their specific practice. vi. Archaeologists should be accountable for their actions and decisions to the public and must remain transparent and open to any scrutiny that is deemed necessary by the relevant legal bodies.
vii. Archaeologists must not exploit their position to gain undue advantages, including financial profit for themselves, their family or associates, nor should they use their capacity to further their private interests or those of external parties.
viii. Archaeologists must not be involved in criminal behaviour such as corruption, for example, offering or accepting gifts in the form of money, loans, or favouritism.
ix. In their contact with members of the wider public, archaeologists should always be respectful and helpful in sharing their knowledge in an open and comprehensible manner.
x. Archaeologists have the duty to disseminate the results of their activities, for example through initiatives aimed at engaging the wider public.

1c. Archaeologists and the profession

i. Archaeologists conduct their activities in a variety of sectors, including (but not restricted to):

  • higher education and research, where they are typically involved in university-level teaching and training, doctoral and post-doctoral level research, and professional scientific research;
  • heritage management such as working for government cultural agencies, non-governmental bodies, not-for-profit membership organisations, and community associations;
  • museums and archives, where they may work as curators, conservators, scientists, or educators;
  • commercial contract archaeology, where they primarily carry out survey and field investigations in advance of development work, such as construction and infrastructure projects; • consultancy to organisations, groups and communities affected by or conducting archaeological work;
  • and avocational research.

ii. Archaeologists are invited by the EAA to follow the ethical practice described below, irrespective of EAA membership. Members of the Association are expected to do their best to achieve the highest level of archaeological practice.

  • Archaeologists have a duty to keep themselves informed of developments in knowledge and methodology relating to their field of specialisation and to techniques of fieldwork, conservation, information dissemination, and related areas.
  • Archaeologists should not undertake projects for which they are not adequately educated, trained, experienced or prepared.
  • Archaeologists should not undertake or allow any activity or action that damages without good and justifiable reason any physical remains of the past. • Archaeologists must respect individual human rights and never practice any form of discrimination against individuals on any basis.
  • Archaeologists should have regard for the interests and viewpoints of all stakeholders concerning the past and its remains, considering that Archaeology is a scientific activity in the most comprehensive sense, and works for the benefit of humanity and the world.
  • Archaeologists should ensure that they understand, and operate within, the legal and other regulatory frameworks, including but not limited to national and international law and professional guidance, governing all aspcts of archaeological work in the country where they conduct their activities.
  • Archaeologists must abstain from any action that could create a conflict of interest regarding their work, such as acquisition of objects for personal financial gain. • A project design should be formulated as an essential prelude to all archaeological work.
  • Arrangements must be made before starting fieldwork projects for the subsequent storage and curation of finds, samples, and records in accessible public repositories (museums, archive collections, etc), as well as dissemination of knowledge.

iii. In all their activities, and so far as it does not conflict with the general principles in section (1c.ii), archaeologists have a duty of respectful, fair and honest dealing - based upon principles of equality and inclusiveness - with others with whom they may engage in any capacity, including (but not limited to, and in no particular order of priority):

  • colleagues and other archaeologists at all stages of their career,
  • employers,
  • government and government agencies,
  • members of the local community and other interested stakeholders,
  • direct and indirect stakeholders in a particular project, activity or place (‘stakeholder‘ here to mean any person, organisation or group that considers that they may be affected by any archaeological activity in relation to that project, activity or place),
  • the public (a term to be understood as broadly as possible). Where any conflict between any such persons or groups is evident, it is the duty of the archaeologist to consider what shall be the best and most ethically responsible outcome and act accordingly.

1d. Safe work environment, equality and inclusion

The EAA is committed to achieving equality and maintaining diversity and inclusion in its Boards and Committees, and encourages other archaeological institutions and organisations to proceed similarly.

The EAA promotes safe and empowering study and work environments and urges member and non-member archaeologists to report any discrimination, harassment, assault, bullying and intimidation that they suffer to their home institution or organisation and to the EAA’s Statutory Appeal and Anti-Harassment Committee.

The objective of this Code is also to ensure the equal treatment of all archaeologists, and especially those at early stages of their career. Early career archaeologists (ECAs), such as postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, are professionals, in line with core principles of the European Charter for Researchers (Euraxess). Education and training requirements may not be used as a basis to disqualify ECAs from the right to publish or to have their contribution to science acknowledged.

Guiding principles

i. In accordance with the above codes, directors of fieldwork, field schools, archaeological institutions and organisations are expected to adopt codes of conduct which adhere to the following principles.
ii. Guarantee equal opportunities.
iii. Prohibit all forms of harassment, assault, bullying, intimidation and discrimination. Such offensive behaviour includes: racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and discrimination on the basis of age, ability, religious or other cultural tradition, and gender identity.
iv. Denounce forms of harassment, victimisation and intimidation which are aimed at negatively impacting career advancement through stealing or appropriation of data, analytical results, ideas, publications, and through blackmail, threats, defamation, or personal attacks in public settings.
v. Establish clear reporting and protection mechanisms for victims and witnesses of misconduct.
vi. The EAA encourages its members to carry out surveys on gender pay gaps and discrimination in various settings in their home countries and to report the results to the Archaeology and Gender in Europe (AGE) Community.
vii. Adopt measures against perpetrators within the available legal frameworks.
viii. Ensure equal access to education, fieldwork, training, research and work opportunities.
ix. Guarantee equal career prospects and transparency in career advancement.
x. Promote equal and transparent conditions of employment, pay and retirement in all archaeological fields and sectors.
xi. The EAA promotes the inclusion of diversity in archaeological research agendas, as well as in the curricula of primary education, secondary, and tertiary education, museum education and archaeological study programmes.


  1. This EAA Code was prepared by an EAA Task Force and agreed by the EAA’s Executive Board. It was approved and adopted per rollam by Members of the Association on 15 September 2022, and it replaces all earlier versions. The EAA Code of Practice and associated Principles are published in English. However, the EAA welcomes the translation of the Code and Principles into other languages and has set translation guidelines that can be obtained through its General Secretariat.
  2. The Board may advise on particular issues which may arise, e.g. by referring them to the relevant EAA Advisory Committees.
  3. Queries regarding the Code of Practice and Principles may be raised by contacting the Secretariat (administrator@e-a-a.org), which will put the matter to the Board if necessary.


EAA Principles

The EAA Executive Board has composed and adopted the following Principles, which are to read alongside the EAA Code of Practice.




The EAA Executive Board has adopted the following Principles.

The principles outlined here apply equally to all kinds of contract archaeological work, although many points are intended to address issues arising from a commercial developer-funded contract system of archaeology. Archaeology is often carried out under contracts of various kinds, even though it may not be a highly profitable commercial activity.

1. Archaeological contracts should be awarded on the basis of quality and not on price alone. Guidance for the quality assessment of contract bids could be managed by, for example, a State or local government authority. 

2. Archaeologists involved in managing contract archaeological work should be conscious of their obligations regarding the pay, occupational health and safety, conditions of employment and training, and career development opportunities of archaeologists, for example in relation to any negative effects that competition between archaeological organisations can have on these aspects of employment.

3. The salaries of archaeologists should reflect their level of education and experience, their responsibilities, and the demanding conditions of the work. The lowest paid archaeologists working on a contract should receive, as a minimum, pay in line with the real cost of living. 

4. Archaeologists should ensure that they understand, and operate within, the legal framework within which the regulation of archaeological work takes place in that country.

5. Archaeologists should ensure that they give the best possible advice to developers and planners with archaeological interests in mind, and should not advise on matters beyond their knowledge or competence.

6. Archaeologists should ensure that they understand the structure of archaeological roles and responsibilities, the relationships between these roles, and their place in this structure.

7. 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.

8. Archaeologists dealing with contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers need to remain fair and impartial.

9. Where the market for archaeological services is not big enough to support profitable competition, smaller archaeological units should be encouraged to collaborate with each other to ensure substantial developer contracts can be met.

10. Archaeologists should not offer to undertake contract work for which they or their organisations are not suitably equipped, staffed or experienced.

11. Archaeologists should maintain adequate project control systems (academic, financial, quality, time) in relation to the work which they are undertaking.

12. Archaeologists should adhere to nationally recognised professional standards for archaeological work, and should ensure the quality of their work throughout the duration of the project.

13. Archaeologists should adhere both to the relevant law and to ethical standards in the area of competition between archaeological organisations.

14. Archaeologists involved in contract archaeological work should be enabled to report their results fully and make them publicly available. For example, commercial archaeology units can be encouraged to upload their full reports to a central online data repository for archaeological ‘grey literature’, where the public can freely access the data for research purposes.

15. Archaeological contracts should include comprehensive costs, explicitly including costs for the production of reports, the publication and dissemination of results, and the archive deposition of finds and documentation.

16. Archaeological information should not normally be suppressed (e.g., by landowners, developers, or by archaeological contractors), and archaeologists involved in contract archaeology should use their best endeavours to prevent this happening.

17. 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 organisation.

18. Archaeologists involved in contract archaeological work should recognise the need to demonstrate, to developers and to the public at large, the benefits of support for archaeological work.

19. Where contract archaeology is common, all archaeologists - especially those in positions of influence - should promote the application of this Code of Practice, and promote adequate systems of regulation, in order to make the Code work effectively. Regulation should be formalised and implemented in co-operation with State or municipal authorities, although professional archaeological associations also have a crucial role to play.


The EAA Executive Board has adopted the following Principles.


2a. General


Anthropogenic materials, human remains, and animal and plant remains are all unique in their context and carry irreplaceable information. Throughout the project planning, survey, and excavation process, as well as when carrying out post-excavation research, archaeologists should recover, investigate and document as much contextual information as possible. Archaeologists are invited by the EAA to follow the ethical principles described here, irrespective of EAA membership.



1.   Archaeologists should carry out their work to the highest professional standards recognised by their peers. They have the duty to keep themselves informed of methodological developments in archaeology and disciplines related to their work. 

2.   Archaeological research often relies on the collaborative work of experts in different fields. Archaeologists are, therefore, encouraged to involve colleagues with the relevant interdisciplinary skills and experience in their research projects.

3.   Archaeologists must follow all national legal regulations in the places they work and from which materials are derived. EAA recommends written permission for the use of original materials and the inclusion of the source in any publication.

4.   Archaeological research projects require a detailed research plan with clear descriptions of objectives, procedures, and long-term curation plans for data, finds and samples, to be agreed with all stakeholders.

5.   Archaeologists should engage with other stakeholders and ensure respect and sensitivity to stakeholder perspectives.

6.   Archaeologists must always seek to minimise damage to materials analysed with destructive techniques.

7.   Archaeologists are encouraged to preserve in situ as much of the archaeological site as possible, with provision being made for on-going protection, conservation, and management, in accordance with the Valletta Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage.

8.   Archaeologists consider human remains a particularly important source of information about the past. Human remains shall be treated with dignity and respect during the whole process of archaeological research.

9.   Archaeological research must be recorded in durable form and made accessible to the archaeological community with minimum delay. The EAA recommends that project results are published within a maximum of 10 years. Primary data should be openly available for others to critically re-examine scientific findings after publication, in which co-authorship rights and obligations are mutually agreed and transparently reported.

10.Archaeologists must fairly acknowledge the contribution of colleagues to their work, regardless of their employment status and position in the academic hierarchy. The EAA recommends the formulation of a project-specific memorandum of understanding in which co-authorship rights and obligations are mutually agreed.

11.Archaeologists have the obligation to make their findings available to the wider public through appropriate dissemination, e.g., on websites, through exhibitions, and in local languages.


2b. Ethical treatment of archaeological human remains

1.   In line with the UNESCO 1967 Statement and 1978 Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, the EAA affirms that all human beings belong to a single species and are descended from a common stock. Individuals are born equal in dignity and rights and all form an integral part of humanity. The division of anatomically modern humans into supposed ’races’ was arbitrary and is based on superseded scholarly convention. 

2.   The EAA concedes that various anthropologists and archaeologists have, in the past, formulated research designs and hypotheses based on the racist fallacy that culture is inherited biologically, and thus that culture is linked to superficial physiological characteristics (such as, for example, skin pigmentation). Any theory which implies that people of different physiological appearance are culturally superior or inferior, or more or less advanced in evolution, has no scientific foundation.

3.   Archaeologists are called upon to vigorously reject any study or display of human remains that seeks to portray non-European people as examples of “primitive” (in the sense of uncivilised) culture. The differences between cultural groups are attributable to, for example, geographical, historical, political, economic, and social factors. 

4.   European archaeologists conducting research on non-European human remains should be aware that the view of Indigenous communities in some States may be that the remains of all humans are considered ancestors. Thus, according to this view, there should be no need for stakeholders to prove linear descent or demonstrate kinship or affiliation, other than a geographical association, with a contemporary community.

5.   If samples are collected from human remains for DNA research, laboratories must have guidelines in place in advance regarding Data Sovereignty. For example, Indigenous nations and communities may not approve DNA research if samples are to be retained in comparative DNA libraries for further research and publication without notification or consent.

6.   The dignified treatment and proper conservation of human remains in archaeological research should include secure storage of the material in an area of the archive or facility that is designated solely for human remains. Post-excavation examination and sampling of human remains should take place within the designated area.

7.   The dignified treatment and proper conservation of human remains in archaeological teaching and training should include limiting the handling of remains to the post-excavation analysis of the assemblage. In order to avoid the repeated handling of exhumed remains, teaching collections could comprise, for example, 3D printed copies of archaeological human remains, and virtual anatomy and pathology teaching systems.

8.   The EAA acknowledges that from an anti-racist perspective, archaeologists should respect the fact that remains are of individual persons, and cannot be presented as typical or exceptional of whole national, cultural, geographical, or chronological groupings.

9.   The EAA recommends, from a decolonisation and anti-racist perspective, that remains in museums should be displayed in a dignified way and should only occur in cases where the actual display of physical objects is considered necessary to convey understanding of the archaeological narrative. Actual human remains can be replaced with replicas (clearly labelled as such).


2c. Ethical practice in expert evaluation of archaeological material

The EAA recognises the key role that scientific research plays in the advancement of understanding of cultural heritage. The EAA is concerned about the traffic in stolen, forged, clandestinely excavated, and illegally exported cultural heritage materials, as well as the fact that some countries openly encourage the sale of legally decontextualised archaeological objects on the art and antiquities market.

  1. The EAA draws attention to how the financial market value of particular objects can be stimulated by any archaeological expert appraisal and scientific analysis reports as providing proof of an artefact’s provenance or genuine nature, thus making such objects more desirable to purchasers.
  2. Archaeologists and heritage science practitioners are thus called upon to be mindful of their ethical responsibilities when carrying out research on archaeological material in connection with private owners, and objects of potential contested ownership, as well as material offered for sale on the art and antiquities market. All archaeologists, scientists, conservators, and any other professionals engaged in heritage science analyses and expert evaluation are invited by the EAA to follow the ethical practice described here, irrespective of EAA membership.
  3. In recent years, archaeologists and scientists have experienced increasing demands for scientific examination and expert appraisal of archaeological artefacts and samples. These requests derive not only from archaeological field units, public museums, local or regional authorities, universities or other publicly-funded research institutions, but also from clients such as antiquities dealers, auction houses, privately owned collections, and individual owners or their representatives.
  4. Private clients requesting expert evaluation often seek to use the results as a “Certificate of Authenticity”. These documents typically focus on scientific measurement of the approximate age of the object by archaeometric dating methods, or evidence for possible forgeries; specialists might also be approached for assistance in sampling and to add affirmation to the studies of other experts. Presentation of data from scientific analyses, or an expert archaeological appraisal, can help to enhance the saleability and to increase the financial value of the object. Hence the ultimate result is to support the commercial trade in archaeological material on the art market. This contradicts the statutory position of the EAA.
  5. The EAA aims to promote interest in archaeological remains as evidence of the human past and as contributing to our knowledge of human culture, and to discourage a focus upon any commercial value that may attach to such material (Art. II. 7). The EAA aims to work for the elimination of any form of illegal detection and collection, and the damage it causes to the archaeological heritage (Art. II. 8).
  6. In archaeological research, ‘value’ is not a quantifiable attribute inherent in objects themselves; rather, it is the context and cultural meaning of an artefact that comprises its entire value and defines its significance. Scientific analyses and expert appraisal contribute evidence to the archaeological interpretation of an object’s use and meaning. The use of scientific techniques in the study of privately-owned material for “authentication” consequently raises similar ethical issues to those acknowledged for many years by conservators.
  7. Contemporary professional practice in archaeological conservation advocates for investigation and treatment methods that are reversible, involve minimum intervention, and result in no permanent alteration to the original material. If extensive restoration or reconstruction of missing components is carried out – for example to aid the public in understanding an object that will be on display in a museum – the new conservation work should be easily distinguishable from the original material.
  8. The approach concerning artefacts offered for sale on the art market differs from the customary principles of archaeological conservation. Extensive restoration of artefacts to make them appear as complete as possible, and to appear consistent with other items of comparable type, date, or style that have likewise been detached from their archaeological context, and are now being presented as decorative ‘art objects’, is often desired by private clients who are conscious of the commercial investment and resale value of the items.
  9.  Various associations of art and antiquities dealers emphasise the importance of provenance and documentation in their Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct, or Rules; therefore, any member of such a body should naturally follow its regulations. However, many of these Codes and Rules do not stress the importance of the ethical aspects of providing expert appraisal, scientific analyses, and investigative conservation reports in support of archaeological documentation and provenance attribution. It is therefore necessary to improve the response of the Archaeology sector, and to call for due diligence when analysing archaeological materials, in particular in the case of artefacts that are being offered for sale.
  10.  The ICOM International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods provides some helpful commentary on due diligence and ‘good faith’. According to this, any purchaser of a cultural heritage object must be able to establish where it came from, and when and how it left its country of origin and as well any intermediate country. Hence, they must be in possession of documents such as, for example, an export licence from the country of origin, a catalogue or inventory, photographic evidence, family correspondence, or excavation field notes. These documents can help to demonstrate the art historical provenance, or more precisely, the collection history, of an object. It must be acknowledged that the prevalence of forged documents is a familiar and complex problem. Moreover, a certificate issued by a registry of stolen or lost cultural objects cannot be taken as positive proof of provenance.
  11.  It is important to note that while art- historical provenance is based on connoisseurship and documentary evidence, archaeological provenance refers to either the find site of an artefact, or to the geographical location where the object was made, or where its raw materials were sourced from. Most heritage science analyses that are carried out to “provenance” archaeological artefacts aim to identify a so-called ‘chemical fingerprint’ in the material, that can be matched to a well-characterised geological deposit (e.g. of clay or minerals) in a particular region that, based on the archaeological context, can be postulated to have had some social or economic connection with the find site.
  12.  It is of course impossible to account for all potential ancient raw material sources; it can even be hard to conclusively characterise a particular raw material source, as these may be highly heterogeneous in chemical composition. The situation naturally becomes more difficult when one looks at, amongst other examples, prehistoric objects or long-distance trade and exchange, such as with metal ingots. Production and exchange could have involved quite complex trade routes and minor (by modern industrial standards) and surface deposits that are long-since exhausted. Scientific provenance studies cannot, therefore, be presented as definitive or independent proof of the archaeological or geographical origin of an object, nor can a set of chemical analyses be said to positively confirm the “authenticity” of an artefact.
  13.  Provenance 

If, as a minimum, the pre-1945 collection history of the archaeological material cannot be established to the point of initial entry into a collection (whether public or private), then it should not be accepted for archaeological expert evaluation or scientific analysis. In the case of objects that are of contested ownership, the material may be accepted for analysis if the client can provide evidence that all of the parties concerned have given informed consent for the scientific study. Material that lacks evidence of provenance and/or ownership must not be forwarded to another scientist or laboratory for analysis.


Documentation regarding the identification of the object or sample should be provided by the client prior to agreement to carry out scientific work. This documentation should be accessible to third parties; a Non-Disclosure Agreement, for instance, should not be signed. Documentation should include:

i) Statement of the country or territory of origin; archaeological find site if the material was excavated after 1945; collection history if the material initially entered into a collection (whether public or private) prior to 1945; import/export papers if the material is coming from a foreign country; declaration of who is the legal owner of the material. 

ii) Photographs of the object, including scale, and detailed images of distinguishing features; brief written description.

iii) In the case of samples already removed, a description of sample details and sampling procedure should be provided in addition to the above information.

     15. Conflict of Interest

Heritage scientists and archaeological experts must abstain from any action that could create a conflict of interest regarding their work, such as acquisition of objects for financial gain. They should not accept any form of reward from, for example, an auction house or dealer, that may be offered to them as an incentive to purchase archaeological objects or to pass on objects to other purchasers, or as an inducement to take, or to refrain from taking, official action (such as informing relevant authorities or police).

     16. Legal notification

In the case of reasonable doubt regarding the provenance and/or ownership of an object, the analyst or archaeological expert should raise the matter immediately with the client, and maintain the right to inform law enforcement agencies about the object. In the case of material of potential contested ownership, heritage science practitioners should take care to be aware of the national law of any third-party country, as well as to respect international treaties and legal instruments.

17. Heritage professionals in each State are relied upon to promote public awareness that the true value of cultural material does not rest in its financial worth. Archaeologists, scientists, and conservators should not generate data for private clients, knowing or suspecting that such data will be used to create or to enhance a financial valuation, or be used to facilitate the sale of archaeological artefacts of uncertain provenance on the art market.


18. In order to encourage inter-laboratory exchange and support, the EAA Community has established a closed mailing list group, to permit heritage professionals to ask questions and to share experience about objects suspected to have been illicitly traded, or requests coming from owners, purchasers and sellers of archaeological material. All those interested should contact the EAA Community on the Illicit Trade in Cultural Material. 


2d. Publication of decontextualised archaeological artefacts

  1. Decontextualised artefacts are objects that have been removed without archaeological recording or excavation documentation from a depositional environment, site or monument. Examples of decontextualised artefacts can include: metal-detected finds, objects from the art market, or objects without excavation records that come from, for example, old collections.
  2. The publication of decontextualised artefacts is a difficult matter and treated differently by various archaeological associations and institutions. Publication can effectively sanction the further decontextualisation of as yet undiscovered finds, and can, directly or indirectly, add to the financial valuation of such artefacts. EAA members should not normally participate in the publication of undocumented antiquities, unless the work is intended to i) highlight suspected forgeries offered for sale on the art market; ii) contribute to the investigations of relevant authorities (e.g., the police or State archaeological agency); or iii) clarify the collection history and provenance of the artefacts.
  3. It is well-known that forgeries are fraudulently sold and bought as originals on the art market. References to or publication of decontextualised objects should mention any possibility of a forgery. In this way, the publication itself may reduce instead of increase the monetary value of the object. Prior to publication, local laws will have to be addressed; for instance, in Italy, the Soprintendenza has to be informed before the publication of the object. If the archaeologist has a reasonable suspicion that offences against the law were committed and have not already lapsed under eligible statutes of limitation, they should report the case to the relevant authorities, who can properly investigate the matter.
  4. A decontextualised object can still bear relevant information, and hence might be of interest for archaeological research. If clear information of doubtful, illicit or unknown find circumstances is provided, together with a clear statement of the problems associated with the provenance, publication of such objects might be justifiable. In this case, publication can prevent later falsified provenance by, e.g. art market dealers, indicate looting or illicit acquisition, and help States to eventually make claims for restitution and repatriation of the object. By providing all details about the doubtful origin of artefacts, archaeologists can raise public awareness about the irretrievable loss of archaeological context, the dynamics of the art market, and the history of collecting.


2e. Indigenous heritage

The EAA acknowledges that Indigenous communities in many places have remained committed to the stewardship of their lands over the centuries. The historic environment has been cherished and protected, as elders have instructed the young in their communities through generations. Archaeologists are honoured and grateful to conduct research on indigenous cultural heritage. The EAA undertakes to further develop this Code of Practice through outreach to Indigenous communities in many countries.

  1. Indigenous populations maintain cultural heritage traditions in many States where:

i) there is a history of European colonisation, mainly in the 16th to 20th centuries AD, and there is now a majority European settler descent population, such as Australia, Canada, and the United States;

ii) there is a history of European-descent colonial domination but a majority African, Asian, North American or South American descent population;

iii) there is a dominant majority culture, but a group who inhabited the region prior to the establishment of present State boundaries are a minority culture. A European example of such an indigenous population is the Sámi in Finland. 


  1. Living cultural traditions practised by indigenous people are defined according to the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Intangible cultural heritage includes: language, religion, social customs, economic and political systems, and artistic expression, including traditional music, song, dance, dress & fashion, and cooking.
  2. Craft techniques and objects made and used in traditional ways that are associated with living cultural practices are also components of intangible heritage. There was extensive acquisition by European and European descent collectors of Indigenous cultural material deriving from intangible heritage traditions, in the 18th to 20th centuries AD in particular.
  3. Tangible heritage includes sites, monuments, and excavated archaeological objects found or created in a particular place in the past. There is a history of excavation and collection of archaeological material in countries under colonial domination. Archaeologists have a duty to inform themselves of the Indigenous narrative relating to the material, monuments, or sites that they are researching.
  4. Engagement with an Indigenous community should start at the inception of a research project and continue throughout the scientific process. Initial engagement would include, for example, developing research questions and securing funding. Consent and concurrence on fieldwork activities - in particular on survey and excavation locations and methodologies - must always be sought in advance of project commencement. 
  5. Funding for research on indigenous heritage should include financial compensation for the Indigenous community. Participation in archaeological research consultation requires a significant time commitment, and generally benefits the researchers disproportionately to the Indigenous community. Reliance on specialised expertise from the community should be acknowledged financially.
  6. Archaeologists intending to carry out research that involves scientific analysis (whether the techniques are destructive or non-destructive) or conservation work on Indigenous heritage objects held in art, archaeological, and ethnographic collections must ensure that the contemporary Indigenous nation or community in the place of origin of the material have the opportunity to give informed consent.
  7. Indigenous nations or communities might not have the sovereignty to make requests for repatriation of cultural objects, as international treaties commonly recognise just the signatory State as the party that can make an application. Archaeologists involved in decolonisation research have an advocacy role in supporting Indigenous restitution and repatriation claims.

2f. Restitution and repatriation of contested heritage objects

  1. Archaeologists continuously conduct research that leads to reconsideration and amendment of established prehistorical and historical narratives. The term “contested heritage objects” refers here to artefacts that are of disputed ownership. Objects that were acquired under inequitable circumstances, e.g., in a period of foreign colonial rule or military occupation, and are claimed back by, for example, an individual, a State agency, a museum, or by the nation or community of origin, are examples of contested heritage.
  2. Restitution refers to the legal process of restoring contested heritage objects to an owner determined by a court or tribunal, and relinquishing any profits that may have been unlawfully obtained. The party making the restitution claim will typically be a family representative, descendent, or institution connected to the previous owner of the object. Art objects, archaeological artefacts, and ethnographic material collected during colonial rule in the 16th to 20th centuries AD, and objects looted during war or military occupation, are examples of contested heritage that can be subject to restitution claims. A prominent example of restitution concerns cultural material that was confiscated, subjected to enforced sales, or stolen during the Nazi era in Europe. 
  3. Archaeological artefacts and ethnographic/intangible heritage objects should be considered to fall under public, collective, or community ownership. Repatriation refers to the return of archaeological and ethnographic material to the nation or community of origin, rather than to a previous private individual or institutional owner. 
  4. The role of archaeologists in the restitution and repatriation process primarily involves research and publication. Archaeologists may be asked to share the results of their research as expert advice to, e.g., State agencies, police forces, or customs and excise departments. The publication of contested artefacts that are also decontextualised should follow the principles outlined under section 2d of this Code. 
  5. Archaeologists working in museums should encourage their institution to engage with stakeholders who are contesting the ownership of cultural heritage objects. The archaeologists’ input can include conducting inventories and producing research summaries of material in collections.


  1. Archaeologists should have the confidence to participate in advocacy; for example, campaigning on decolonisation and for the payment of reparations to aid in the ongoing conservation and curation of repatriated artefacts.




The EAA Executive Board has adopted the following Principles.

3a. Academic Teaching and Training 

Archaeologists are invited by the EAA to follow the ethical practice described here, irrespective of EAA membership.

1.   Archaeology being a scientific endeavour that produces novel and sometimes uncomfortable insights into the past, intellectual freedom, freedom of research and the free expression of archaeological results should be fully respected within legal boundaries.

2.   Archaeological research and teaching should respect legal standards regarding intellectual property.

3.   Archaeological research and teaching should follow the relevant sections of the EAA Code of Practice.

4.   Staff overseeing archaeological teaching and training in research or academic institutions need to meet the requirements of holding a minimum of a bachelor's degree in Archaeology or a related field.

5.   Archaeologists involved in academic education and training should carry out their teaching/training duties to the highest scientific, pedagogical and ethical standards, and in accordance with recent developments in the field of Archaeology.

6.   Academic teaching and training in Archaeology should be reflective and critical, relying on the examination of the beliefs, judgments and practices of those involved in the research process, and of the political, social and economic contexts in which they operated, in order to understand how these may have influenced the results and the way the past is presented to students. Moreover, reflexivity in archaeological teaching should be characterised by openness, encouraging students to question their own assumptions about the past.

7.   Archaeological teaching and training needs to be undertaken in a secure and empowering environment, with respect to the legal standards that should foster safety and health for students and teaching/training staff alike.


3b. Fieldwork Training

Practical training should only be undertaken by those competent to provide the particular training offered (e.g. field survey, excavation, geophysics, laboratory expertise, site visits, interviews, archival research). Where possible they should have recognised professional documentation of their competence.

Documentation provided to participants and potential participants should state clearly:

  1. Who are the competent people running the project are and their professional and training qualifications.
  2. What specific training will be on offer (e.g. field walking, excavation, finds processing, drawing), and to what level (where this can be defined).
  3. The date of the site and its nature.
  4. Which categories of student or volunteer are being catered for. This can vary from people for whom the project is a working holiday with an educational aim, school children wondering whether to study archaeology at university, students fulfilling requirements for the courses, or young professionals seeking professional training. All these groups have very different needs.
  5. What kinds of students or volunteers are being catered for (e.g. the level of previous experience, those with disabilities, age restrictions).
  6. The way in which teaching will be carried out, and the proposed programme for carrying it out (e.g. lectures, on-site training, site documentation, mentoring by competent workers).
  7. Ratios of competent staff to students.
  8. A statement of the methods to be used, where possible with specific reference to manuals and textbooks.
  9. A guide on the length of the course.
  10.  Clear advice on, for example, living conditions, personal insurance, hazards, equipment to be provided.
  11.  A statement of what is expected of the participants.


The project must be fully insured for accidents, professional indemnity, etc.  It should maintain legal standards of Health and Safety, e.g. in working conditions, protective clothing, first aid training, provision of first aid kits.  Every member of the team should know what to do in an emergency, e.g. telephone numbers of medical services, where to find the local doctor or hospital.

Field projects should conform to the legal requirements of the country in which they are carried out (e.g. for permits, legal access to land, deposition of finds and archives, publication, etc.). This will also normally involve carrying out an official ‘Risk Assessment’.

There should be concern for the local social and political environment in which work is being carried out (e.g. students should not be seen to have privileged access to historical sites from which local people are excluded). It is the responsibility of the participant to enquire about the working languages for the course, and ensure that they have sufficient command to participate fully.

Given the destructive nature of archaeological excavation, due concern should be given to heritage preservation. Archaeological sites should not be destroyed merely to provide training only. Preferably sites which are threatened, or where there are pressing research interests, should be chosen rather than unthreatened sites.

Students and volunteers should not be used as an unwaged workforce or as a source of research funding if participation fees are charged. Moreover, their work should be acknowledged as contributing to archaeological knowledge. Equally training excavations should not be used as a means of undermining professional activities, e.g. by offering cut-price rescue excavations when these should be properly funded under state and European planning legislation.

Any certificates given out should be endorsed by recognised institutions, such as Higher Education institutions (universities, research centres), museums, professional associations, etc.

Participants should be asked for feedback on their experiences, and proper consideration be taken of complaints and suggestions. Where possible these should be passed on to the relevant institution overseeing the standards.

Any participants should be informed where they can make formal complaints if they are dissatisfied with their training and treatment in terms of safety, equality and diversity (e.g. the professional institute, university, etc.).




The EAA Executive Board has adopted the following Principles.

4a. General 

The EAA acknowledges that the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis form one of the biggest challenges of our time. The climate crisis transcends political, national or organisational agendas.  Archaeologists have a moral and ethical responsibility not simply to react to the impacts of climate change on cultural heritage but to address climate change in all aspects of their work, regardless of statutory requirements.  Archaeologists can provide leadership and act as exemplars in climate action and should take a proactive approach to the climate crisis.  To this end, EAA encourages members to join the EAA Climate Change and Heritage (CCH) Community.

4b. Climate change mitigation

1.     In its Kiel 2021 Statement on Archaeology and Climate Change, the EAA has committed to playing its part in responsibly working towards UN Climate Change goals, net-zero emissions and limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5.  Archaeologists should take practical steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by their activities, for instance through choosing lower carbon modes of heating and transport and reducing waste in their operations.  Organisations should consider developing and publishing a Carbon Management Plan.

2.     It is not just natural assets that provide an opportunity to sequester carbon long-term. Recent research shows that heritage assets also carry this inherent capacity, and this should inform archaeologists’ approach to heritage management.  Cultural heritage must be seen as part of the solution to climate change, rather than a barrier to addressing it, and there should be a presumption in favour of retention of cultural heritage assets.

3.     Where there is a perceived conflict between natural and cultural heritage conservation, for instance in peatland restoration and tree planting for carbon sequestration, archaeologists should work across disciplinary boundaries to ensure that the value and contribution of cultural heritage is recognised.

4c. Climate change adaptation

  1. EAA is a signatory to the Statement on Social Archaeology of Climate Change (SACC) launched at the SACC Summit in Kiel/online in 2021, which stresses the role archaeology has in informing climate change adaptation. Archaeologists are skilled at reading the landscape, interpreting evidence and using it to tell stories about the past, about how humans changed their environment and adapted or failed to adapt to environmental and climatic conditions and challenges over millennia.  These are tools that we can and should use to inform current and future policy; help today’s communities understand the reality and severity of human-induced climate change; and imagine scenarios of how society might adapt.
  2. As stated in the 2021 Kiel Statement on Archaeology and Climate Change, climate change puts archaeological remains at risk.  Those working in archaeological conservation should fully consider climate change impacts and risks and develop adaptation measures to prevent irrevocable loss of heritage.
  3. Archaeologists should work to understand the full range of impacts of climate change on cultural heritage and its values and its associated industries such as tourism.  Researching and understanding hazards and risks associated with climate change can inform resilience and adaptation in the historic environment and ensure that cultural heritage forms part of adaptation planning.
  4. Some level of loss of cultural heritage is inevitable as a result of climate change. Archaeologists should be having discussions both within the profession and with local communities about this loss, about what communities value, what they are prepared to lose, how they adapt to change and what they will focus efforts on retaining.

4d. Climate justice

  1. Climate change disproportionately affects the world’s most vulnerable communities.  Research indicates that in times of crisis or disaster, which could include the climate emergency, it is cultural heritage (tangible and intangible) that brings communities together and enables resilience, cohesion and hence recovery.  Archaeologists should adopt a holistic approach to cultural resilience that recognises that archaeological principles and practice can be applied in many contexts, including both tangible and intangible heritage.
  2. Archaeologists should bring both scientific and traditional practice and knowledge to the conservation of cultural heritage, notably in the sustainable use of natural resources.
  3. Archaeologists should involve local communities in decision-making processes and work with them to build capacity in the management of threatened sites.



1.   These Principles were prepared by an EAA Task Force and agreed by the EAA’s Executive Board. They were approved and adopted per rollam by Members of the Association 15 September 2022, and they replace all earlier versions. The EAA Code of Practice and associated Principles are published in English. However, the EAA welcomes their translation into other languages and has set translation guidelines that can be obtained through its General Secretariat.


2.   The Board may advise on particular issues which may arise, e.g. by referring them to the relevant EAA Advisory Committees.


3.   Queries regarding the Code of Practice and Principles may be raised by contacting the Secretariat, which will put the matter to the Board if necessary.

European Journal of Archaeology Publications Ethics Policy

Background and general standards
The Executive Board of the EAA and the Editorial Board of the EJA are committed to ensuring that high ethical publishing standards are maintained by the EJA and EAA.
As a benchmark, the EJA subscribes to the Core Practices of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): https://publicationethics.org/core-practices
The EJA also subscribes to the Ethics Policy of our publisher, Cambridge University Press: https://www.cambridge.org/core/about/ethical-standards
This EJA Policy is based on COPE, but also on the particular experiences of the EJA and its Editors. It has been approved by the Editorial Board of the EJA and by the Executive Board of the EAA, and was last revised on the 15th February 2019.  It complements the EAA’s Code of Practice.  It is a publications ethics policy; not an ethics code for the EAA.
The Editors reserve the right to reject manuscripts that do not comply with these standards and to refer their authors to relevant professional bodies and higher authorities.

1. Allegations of misconduct
The EJA and EAA take seriously, and will investigate, any allegations of misconduct, pre- and post-publication (e.g. editors or reviewers requiring authors to cite their own work, or authors withdrawing papers after acceptance then submitting their work to a high impact factor journal)

2. Authorship and contributorship
The EJA expects transparency around who contributed to a submitted piece of work and in what capacity.
The list of authors should accurately reflect who carried out the research and who wrote the article. The names of individuals who have not contributed significantly to the work should not be included.
The EJA expects authors to resolve disputes between themselves but will investigate allegations of authors stealing work and seeking to publish it under their own name.

3. Complaints and appeals
The EJA takes seriously, and will respond to, complaints about the journal, its staff, editorial board or publisher.
Authors have the right to appeal against editorial decisions. Appeals or complaints can be addressed directly to the Editors of the EJA (ejaeditor@e-a-a.org), or to the President and Administrator of the EAA (president@e-a-a.org and administrator@e-a-a.org). Major appeals or complaints will be referred to the Executive Board of the EAA.
We will investigate and respond to all appeals and complaints in a timely manner.

4. Conflicts of interest*/competing interests
We will seek to handle and resolve conflicts of interest of authors, reviewers, editors, our journal and our publisher.
All authors and peer reviewers must declare any conflicts of interest relating to submitted work.
Sources of support for the research to be published must be acknowledged by authors.
Authors are invited to suggest specialist peer reviewers, and can also indicate the names of certain experts whom they would prefer not to be included in the peer review process for stated reasons (e.g. a strong personal conflict), although the final decision on selection of peer reviewers will be taken by the Editors.
The Editors of the EJA reserve the right to reject work authored by members of the EAA, the EAA’s Executive Board and the EJA’s Editorial Board.The Editors of the EJA may submit articles or reviews in the EJA, but―with the exception of their Editorials―are subject to full peer review (in the case of full articles) and subject to a decision to publish being made by another member of the Editorial Board.
* ‘Conflicts of interests’ might include (but are not limited to) situations where authors or others involved in research might receive financial benefit from publication or have personal relationships which affect the conduct and dissemination of the research

5. Materials and methods
The EJA expects authors to make all relevant data available, as well as details of methods used, although it reserves the right to publish this as Supplementary Information online only.
Any allegations of data manipulation will be investigated by the EJA

6. Ethical oversight
The ethical oversight of the EJA extends to issues such as consent to publish, publication on vulnerable heritage, and ethical conduct of research using cultural and human remains.
We expect ethical approval to have been secured for all research published in the EJA. Indeed, where relevant, ethical clearance and IRB decisions should be noted in the final manuscripts.
In accepting the terms and conditions of the EJA, authors guarantee that their work was produced free of research misconduct.
In line with the EAA’s Code of Practice (1.6) which states that ‘Archaeologists will not engage in, or allow their names to be associated with, any form of activity relating to the illicit trade in antiquities and works of art, covered by the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export, and transfer of ownership of cultural property.
Archaeological material knowingly obtained illegally from unprovenanced sources should not be published in the EJA.
Work dealing with human remains must have been undertaken according to national legislation and informed by professional standards. In line with BABAO’s Code of Ethics (6), we request that ‘Where applicable, images of human remains should not be published without consideration to the views of any demonstrated genealogical descendants or affiliated cultural communities’.
It is the responsibility of corresponding authors to obtain consent to submit work to the journal from all co-authors, before the work is submitted.
Submissions to special issues of the EJA are subject to the same editorial standards as all other submissions to the EJA, and may be rejected by the Editors of the EJA.
The EJA advocates freedom of scholarly expression and, therefore, reserves the right to publish criticisms of published work and of scholars, including any firmly substantiated claims of misconduct, and to report them to professional organisations and higher authorities for further investigation.
The EJA will seek to support EJA authors who can produce convincing evidence that they have been bullied or harassed by other scholars for the views that they have expressed in the EJA.
The editors reserve the right to edit peer reviews, including reviewers’ requests that authors cite their own work.

7. Intellectual property, including copyright
Authors are responsible for ensuring that they hold intellectual property rights to the work that they submit to the journal, including copyright on all illustrations. They are also responsible for any costs associated with obtaining such rights.
Suspected plagiarism in a submitted manuscript will always be investigated, and―if proven―authors will be presented with the evidence.
The EJA will not consider any paper submitted simultaneously to another journal.
We do not publish work that has been previously published elsewhere (partly or in full), including in a different language.
Full acknowledgement to other works used to produce the paper must be given.
Publication of EJA articles online, via Cambridge Core, on FirstView are considered to be fully published versions of articles with copyright held by the EAA, and cannot, therefore, be published elsewhere by authors or modified by them without permission.

8. Journal management
The Editors of the EJA, working in collaboration with our publishers―Cambridge University Press, are responsible for managing the journal in an efficient manner. Our work and processes are subject to the regular scrutiny of the EJA Editorial and Advisory Boards, the EAA Executive Board and the EAA membership.
Submitted papers, specialist peer reviewers’ comments and editorial decisions are stored securely on our Editorial Manager system, and are subject to the Privacy Notice of Cambridge University Press: http://www.cambridge.org/about-us/legal-notices/privacy-notice/

9. Peer review processes
The EJA’s peer review process is expected to be described transparently and well managed.
We have a two-stage peer review process. Peer reviews are initially provided to the Editors by members of our Editorial Board. If a paper is regarded to be of sufficient merit by the Editorial Board, it is then sent out by the Editors for external peer reviewed by a minimum of 2 invited specialist reviewers.
We do not wish to burden external peer reviewers with papers that are well below standard. Submitted papers may therefore be rejected without external peer review if they are deemed (following review by the Editorial Board) not to meet the EJA’s requirements. Such rejections are only made when a minimum of 4 Editorial Board members have offered comments to the Editors on the paper.
We always provide feedback to authors on rejected papers.
The names of authors of rejected papers are not included in EJA reports or shared with the Executive Board of the EAA.
We do not undertake double-blind peer review (because, for example, we find author information useful in avoiding repeat submissions).
Peer reviewers are, by default, anonymous, but may make their names known to authors should they so wish.
Peer reviewers’ comments are only shared with the Editors and authors.
Peer reviewers are expected to maintain confidentiality of any information supplied by the Editors or by the authors, but are invited to alert the Editors to any content that has previously been submitted for publication elsewhere.

10. Post-publication discussions and corrections
The EJA encourages debate post-publication, and is committed to correcting any publishing errors.
Authors of research and publications reviewed or referred to critically in the EJA do not have an automatic right of published reply in the journal, but are welcome to submit their own work for publication in the EJA.
If proven to have been in error, we will publish corrections (when errors could affect the interpretation of the research data or interpretations), clarifications, retractions and apologies in the next available issue of the EJA.

The General Editors
Robin Skeates and Cate Frieman

28 March 2019