Ethics

Archaeology is a profession, and the privilege of professional practice requires professional morality and professional responsibility, as well as professional competence, on the part of each practitioner.

The Archaeologist’s Responsibility to the Public

An archaeologist shall:

  1. Recognize a commitment to present archaeology and its research results to the public in a responsible manner.
  2. Actively support conservation of the archaeological resource base; be sensitive to, and respect the legitimate concerns of, groups whose cultural histories are the subjects of archaeological investigations.
  3. Avoid and discourage exaggerated, misleading, or unwarranted statements about archaeological matters that might induce others to engage in unethical or illegal activity.
  4. Support and comply with the terms of the UNESCO Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export, and transfer of ownership of cultural property.

An archaeologist shall not:

  1. Engage in any illegal or unethical conduct involving archaeologist matters or knowingly permit the use of his/her name in support of any illegal or unethical activity involving archaeological matters.
  2. Give a professional opinion, make a public report, or give legal testimony involving archaeological matters without being as thoroughly informed as might reasonably be expected.
  3. Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation about archaeological matters.
  4. Undertake any research that affects the archaeological resource base for which he/she is not qualified.

The Archaeologist’s Responsibility to Her/His Colleagues

An archaeologist shall:

  1. Give appropriate credit for work done by others.
  2. Keep informed and knowledgeable about developments in her/his field of specialization.
  3. Accurately, and without undue delay, prepare and properly disseminate a description of research done and its results.
  4. Communicate and cooperate with colleagues having common professional interests.
  5. Give due respect to colleagues’ interests in, and right to, information about sites, areas, collections, or data where there is a mutual active or potentially active research concern.
  6. Know and comply with all laws applicable to her/his archaeological research, as well as with any relevant procedures promulgated by duly constituted professional organizations.
  7. Report knowledge of violations of this Code to proper authorities.

An archaeologist shall not:

  1. Falsely or maliciously attempt to injure the reputation of another archaeologist.
  2. Commit plagiarism in oral or written communication.
  3. Undertake research that affects the archaeological resource base unless reasonably prompt, appropriate analysis and reporting can be expected; d. refuse a reasonable request from a qualified colleague for research data.

The Archaeologist’s Responsibility to Employers and Clients

An archaeologist shall:

  1. Respect the interests of her/his employer or client, so far as is consistent with the public welfare and this Code of Standards.
  2. Refuse to comply with any request or demand of an employer or client which conflicts with the Code or Standards.
  3. Recommend to employers or clients the employment of other archaeological or other expert consultants upon encountered archaeological problems beyond her/his competence.
  4. Exercise reasonable care to prevent her/his employees, colleagues, associates and others whose services are utilized by her/him from revealing or using confidential information. Confidential Information means information of a non-archaeological nature gained in the course of employment which the employer or client has requested be held inviolate, or the disclosure of which would be embarrassing or would be likely to be detrimental to the employer or client. Information ceases to be confidential when the employer or client so indicates or when such information becomes publicly known.

An archaeologist shall not:

  1. Reveal confidential information, unless required by law.
  2. Use confidential information to the disadvantage of the client or employer; or
  3. Use confidential information for the advantage of herself/himself or a third person, unless the client consents after full disclosure.
  4. Accept compensation or anything of value for recommending the employment of another archaeologist or other person, unless such compensation or thing of value is fully disclosed to the potential employer or client.
  5. Recommend or participate in any research which does not comply with the requirements of the SOPA Standards of Research Performance.