RPA and CIfA launch new Archaeological Ethics Database

CIfA is proud to report that The Register of Professional Archaeologists (the Register) and CIfA have released a new Archaeological Ethics Database as an ongoing joint project. The database can be found at http://archaeologicalethics.org/. It combines over 500 sources on archaeological ethics in a central, searchable place for students, researchers, and professionals, and is designed to be used internationally.

‘Ethics underpin a profession, and commitment to a code of conduct marks the distinction between an expert and a professional’, said Pete Hinton, CIfA Chief Exec. ‘CIfA has moved from promoting a code to providing CPD resources on how to apply it: our Professional Practice Paper and conference workshops in 2018 and 2019. At present CIfA professionals’ ethical competence is examined only if they are accused of a breach of the code, but the proposals for Chartered Archaeologist, would see ethical ability tested before the title is awarded. This new tool, developed by RPA in partnership, is a valuable additional tool to help existing and future CIfA professionals develop their competence and confidence in challenging situations.

In 2017, CIfA and the Register signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote and strengthen professional ethics in archaeology and the Register assigned an Ethics Intern to begin work on the project. Patricia Markert, RPA and a PhD candidate from Binghamton University, served as the inaugural ethics intern. She developed the database and coded over 500 entries, including journal articles, books, blogs, online resources, and course descriptions. Ms Markert worked with freelance web developer Angela Kristin VandenBroek, who is also a sociocultural anthropology PhD candidate at Binghamton University and visiting researcher at Stockholm University, to transfer the database to a searchable, online platform. The website includes a form for suggestions, questions, and comments. The database is an ongoing project and will be updated and expanded yearly by an Ethics Intern each summer.

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) is the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas. The Institute has over 3,500 individual members, and about 80 registered organisations.

Established in 1998, the Register of Professional Archaeologists is a non-profit professional organization that serves as the international standards and credentialing body for archaeologists. At the end of 2017, there were 3,200 Registrants.