Code of Ethics


To abide by a system of morals is a societal duty that transcends the borders of all professions. Professional archaeologists have a duty to advance their professional skills and knowledge continually, to conduct their activities with integrity, and to expose, without fear or favour, unprofessional or dishonest conduct by any other member of the profession.

Responsibilities to the Public

Since the public funds and consumes much of the archaeologist's work and since they (as government or private individuals) control much of the resource, the duty of the professional archaeologist to the public is more important and must be maintained through ethical conduct.
Professional archaeologists shall:

  • Ensure that, where appropriate, research results are made accessible to the public in a reasonable length of time in an easily understandable fashion.
  • Actively support, and where possible, initiate the conservation of archaeological resources.
  • Endeavour to maintain the public's regard for the profession by not knowingly making, and by refuting , misleading statements about archaeology.
  • Encourage the public to comply with heritage legislation.
  • Not misrepresenting themselves by false credentials on accomplishments or make false claims about the expertise of the discipline.
  • Support and comply with the UNESCO Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export, and transfer of cultural property.
  • Not work on land held privately, corporately, or in trust without obtaining permission and approval from the owners or trustees.

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Responsibilities to First Nations

Since much of Saskatchewan Archaeology deals with culture histories of First Nations peoples, First Nations peoples have special interest in the conduct of archaeology in this province. Beyond their obligations to First Nations as members of the public, the professional archaeologist must respect and accommodate these special concerns. Also, professional archaeologists have a responsibility to use their research results to foster better understanding and tolerance among cultures.
Professional archaeologists shall:

  • Not deliberately excavate, or be party to the excavation of First Nations burials, or other sacred site without appropriate consultation with the Native community.
  • Not carry out archaeological research on reserve land without band permission and approval.
  • Not investigate sites without due regard for objections by the First Nations community and actively support the preservation of sites of significance for them, where possible.
  • Ensure that, where appropriate, research results are made accessible to First Nations in a reasonable length of time in an understandable fashion.

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Responsibilitiesto the Employer

Professional archaeologists shall:

  • Act for their employer as a faithful agent or trustee and shall regard as confidential any information obtained as business affairs, methods or processes of their employers.
  • Refuse to comply with any request or demand from their employer which conflicts with legislation and policies relevant to the conduct of archaeological work.

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Responsibilities to the Profession
  • Accurately, and without undue delay, prepare and properly disseminate a description of research done and its results.
  • Know and comply with all laws and policies applicable to their archaeological research as well as with any relevant procedures promulgated by the Saskatchewan Association of Professional Archaeologists.
  • Report knowledge of violations of this code to the Executive of the Saskatchewan Association of Professional Archaeologists.
  • Not undertake archaeological field investigations unless reasonably prompt, appropriate analysis and reporting can be undertaken.

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Responsibilities to Colleagues

Professional archaeologists act towards others in the profession in the spirit of fairness and consideration.
Professional archaeologists shall:

  • Give credit for work done by others.
  • Uphold the principle of appropriate remuneration for archaeological work.
  • Communicate and co-operate with colleagues by fulfilling reasonable requests for archaeological information.
  • Support the principle of equitable competition and not use fraudulent practices or misuse their employment positions for personal gain.
  • Not falsely or maliciously attempt to injure the reputation of another professional archaeologist.
  • Not commit plagiarism in oral or written communication.
  • Actively support colleagues abiding by this code, especially in the face of conflicts with other interests.

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Responsibilities to Employees

  • Comply with all legislation regulating terms of employment and labour standards.
  • Pay fair wages and benefits of work performed by employees.
  • Not subject workers to unnecessary hardships.
  • Set reasonable goals and standards for work performance.
  • Encourage workers to improve their skills and knowledge.
  • Give appropriate credit for all archaeological work performed.

Adopted October 13, 1990

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Download a copy of SAPA's ethics here