New Mexico Archeological Council Code of Ethics
Adopted September 21, 1979

Archaeology is a profession, and the privilege of professional practice requires professional morality and professional responsibility. A professional archaeologist is one who: holds a degree in Anthropology and makes the greater part of his/her living by practicing the profession; is retired from the profession; or, who has demonstrated his competence by field and published work which is generally accepted by the professional archaeological community (e.g., Geologist or other professional specializing in archaeological problems; Certified Field Archaeologist, accreditation program, Archaeological Society of New Mexico).

This Code of Ethics sets forth guidelines for professional morality and responsibility. Guidelines for Research and Organization Standards are included in the following sections.

1. The Archaeologist’s Responsibility to the Public

1.1 An archaeologist shall:

a. Recognize a commitment to represent archaeology, and its research results to the public in a responsible manner, as outlined below.

b. Actively support conservation of archaeological resources;

c. Be sensitive to, and respect the legitimate concerns of groups whose culture histories are the subjects of archaeological investigations.

d. Avoid and discourage exaggerated, misleading, or unwarranted statements about archaeological matters that might induce others to engage in unethical or illegal activity.

e. 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, as adopted by the Central Conference, 14 November 1970, Paris.

1.2 An archaeologist shall not:

a. Engage in any illegal or other conduct violating this code which involves archaeological matters or knowingly permit the use of her/his name in support of any illegal or unethical activity involving archaeological matters.

b. Give a professional opinion, make a public report, or give legal testimony involving archaeological matters without being as thoroughly informed as might be expected.

c. Disseminate site information that may lead to the illegal destruction of archaeological resources, as covered by various State and Federal laws.

d. Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation about archaeological matters.

e. Undertake on an individual or group level, any research, in any capacity, that may affect archaeological resources, for which he/she/ is not qualified.

f. Employ personnel either for direction of work or for independent, unsupervised field work who does not meet the following criteria:
(i) Have a graduate degree in archaeology, anthropology, or closely related field, or equivalent training accepted for accreditation purposes by the Society of Professional Archaeologists.

(ii) Have a minimum of 16 months of professional experience, or specialized training in areas such as lab analysis, archaeological fieldwork, or library research as appropriate to the Job.

(iii) Have at least four (4) months’ experience in general North American archaeology and at least six (6) months’ supervisory experience. [Individuals lacking supervisory experience but who qualify in all other respects and who, in best judgments of the principal investigator and of the responsible management agency, are prepared for supervisory responsibility, may be employed in supervisory or independent positions on a probationary basis until the six-month experience requirement is met. The principal investigator must, in these cases, be prepared to assume full responsibility for the actions of the probationer.

(iv) Have a demonstrated ability to carry research to completion, usually evidenced by timely completion of theses, reports, or similar documents.

(v) If supervising prehistoric archaeological work, the archaeologist shall have at least one (I) year’s experience in prehistoric archaeological research.

(vi) If supervising historic archaeological work, the archaeologist shall have at least one

(I) year’s experience in historical archaeology.

2. The Archaeologist’s Responsibility to His/Her Colleagues

2.1 An archaeologist shall:

a. Give appropriate credit for work done by others.

b. Keep informed and knowledgeable about developments in his/ her field or fields or specialization.

c. Accurately, and without undue delay, prepare and properly disseminate a description of research done, and its results.

d. Communicate and cooperate with colleagues having common professional interests; including information about sites, areas, collections, or data where there is a mutual active or potentially active research concern.

e. Know and comply with all laws applicable to her/his archaeological research, as well as with any relevant procedures undertaken by duly constituted professional organizations.

f. Report knowledge of violations of this Code to proper authorities.

g. Properly record and promptly report any and all cultural manifestations defined as antiquities by federal or state regulation.

h. Provide equitable and fair compensations to all employees or project participants within the limits of project funding.

2.2 An archaeologist shall not:

a. Falsely or maliciously attempt to injure the reputation of another archaeologist.

b. Commit plagiarism in oral or written communications.

c. Undertake research that affects archaeological resources unless reasonably prompt, appropriate analysis and reporting can be expected.

d. Refuse a reasonable request from a qualified colleague for research data.

e. Solicit employees from other active projects without first consulting with the principal investigators on those projects.

f. Agree in any contract to suppress archaeological data to the professional community.

g. Condone or aid in the misuse of the sponsoring institution’s Antiquities permit or auspices by any other individual or agency.

3. The Archaeologist’s Responsibility to Employers and Clients

3.1 An archaeologist shall:

a. Respect the interests of his/her employer or client, so far as it is consistent with the public welfare and this Code and Standards.

b. Refuse to comply with any request or demand of an employer or client which conflicts with this Code or Standard.

c. Recommend to employers or clients the employment of other archaeologists or other expert consultants upon encountering archaeological problems beyond her/his own competence.

d. Exercise reasonable care to prevent his/her employees, colleagues, associates, and others whose services are used by him/her 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.

3.2 An archaeologist shall not:

a. Reveal confidential information, unless required by law.

b. Use confidential information to the disadvantage of the client or employer.

c. Use confidential information for the advantage of himself/ herself or a third person, unless the client consents after full disclosure.

d. 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.

e. Recommend or participate in any research that does not comply with the requirements of the Standards of Research Performance set forth below.

Standards of Research Performance

The research archaeologist has a responsibility to attempt to design and conduct projects that will add to our understanding of past cultures and/or that will develop better theories, methods, or techniques for interpreting the archaeological record, while causing minimal attrition of the archaeological resource base. In the conduct of a research project, the following minimum standards should be followed.

1. The archaeologist has a responsibility to prepare adequately for any research project whether or not in the field. The archaeologist must:

1.1 Assess the adequacy of her/his qualifications for the demands of the project, and minimize inadequacies by acquiring additional expertise, by bringing in associates with the needed qualifications; or by modifying the scope of the project.

1.2 Inform himself/herself of relevant previous research.

1.3 Develop a scientific plan of research which specifies the objectives of the project, takes into account previous relevant research, employs a suitable methodology, and provides for economical use of the resource base (whether such base consists of an excavation site or of specimens), consistent with the objectives of the project.

1.4 Ensure the availability of adequate staff and support facilities to carry the project to completion; and ensure adequate curatorial facilities for specimens and records.

1.5 Comply with all legal requirements, including, without limitation, obtaining all necessary governmental permits and necessary permissions from landowners or other persons.

1.6 Determine whether the project is likely to interfere with the program or projects of other scholars and if there is such a likelihood, initiate negotiations to minimize such interference.

2. Procedures for field survey or excavation must meet the following minimum standards:

2.1 If specimens are collected, a system for identifying and recording their proveniences must be maintained.

2.2 Uncollected entities such as environmental or cultural features, depositional strata, and the like, must be fully and accurately recorded by appropriate means, and their locations recorded.

2.3 Methods employed in data collection must be fully and accurately described. Significant stratigraphic and/or associated relationships among artifacts, other specimens, and cultural and environmental features must also be fully and accurately recorded.

2.4 All records should be intelligible to other archaeologists. If terms lacking commonly held references are used, they should be clearly defined.

2.5 Insofar as possible, protection of the resource base must be considered. For example, upper levels of a site must be scientifically excavated and recorded, even if the focus of a project is on underlying levels.

3. During accessioning, analysis, and storage of specimens and records in the laboratory, the archaeologist must take precautions to ensure that correlations between the specimens and the field records are maintained, so that provenience, contextual relationships, and the like are not confused or obscured.

4. Specimens and research records resulting from a project must be deposited with an organization with permanent and adequate curatorial facilities, and which permits access by qualified researchers.

5. The archaeologist has responsibility for appropriate dissemination of the results of his/her research to the appropriate constituencies with reasonable dispatch.

5.1 Results viewed as significant contributions to substantive knowledge of the past or to advancements in theory, method, or technique should be disseminated to colleagues and other interested persons by appropriate means, such as publications, reports at professional meetings, or letters to colleagues.

5.2 Requests from qualified colleagues for information on research results must be honored, consistent with the researcher’s prior rights to publication and with his/her other professional responsibilities.

5.3 Failure to complete a full, scholarly report within 10 years after completion of a field project shall be construed as a waiver of an archaeologist’s right of primacy with respect to analysis and publication of the data. Upon expiration of such 10-year period, or at such earlier time as the archaeologist shall determine not to publish the results, such data should be made fully accessible for analysis and publication to other archaeologists.

5.4 While contractual obligations in reporting must be respected, archaeologists should not enter into a contract which prohibits the archaeologist from including his or her own archaeological interpretations or conclusions about the archaeological record in contractual reports, or from a continuing right to use the data after completion of the project.

5.5 Archaeologists have a responsibility to not disseminate information in a manner that encourages vandalism, in accordance with state and federal laws.

Organizational Standards

Archaeological research involving collections of original field data and/or acquisition of specimens requires adequate facilities and support services for its successful conduct, and for proper, permanent maintenance, security, and accessibility of the resulting collections and records.

A full-scale archaeological field project will require the following:

  1. Office space and furniture.
  2. Laboratory space, furniture, and equipment for analysis of specimens and data.
  3. Access to special facilities such as a dark-room, drafting facilities, conservation laboratory, etc.
  4. Space, facilities, and equipment for proper maintenance and security of collections and records.
  5. Field equipment such as vehicles, surveying instruments, etc.
  6. A research library.
  7. Administrative and fiscal control services.
  8. Technical specialists such as photographers, curators, conservators, etc.
  9. Publication services.
  10. Depository facilities or a Letter of Agreement with a museum that meets federal standards for curatorial purposes.

All the foregoing facilities and services must be adequate for the scope of the project.

Not all archaeological research will require all of the foregoing facilities and services, but a full-scale field project will. Likewise, all institutions engaging in archaeological research will not necessarily require or be able to furnish all such facilities and services from their own sources. Institutions lacking certain facilities or services should arrange for them through cooperative agreements with other institutions.