SAA to promote professional standards through ROPA sponsorship.
Lipe, William D.
Steponaitis, Vincas P.
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An essential part of the Society for American Archaeology's mission is to promote high ethical and professional standards for the conduct of archaeology. It is part of our obligation to the public, who support our work, to the fragile archaeological record that supplies us with evidence of the past, and to ourselves, as dedicated practitioners of the science and art of archaeology. The formation of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (ROPA) under joint sponsorship by SAA and the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) gives the archaeological community the opportunity to develop and enforce an effective program of professional ethics and standards. Past SAA statements regarding standards and ethics have provided archaeologists with informal guidance but have lacked the sanctions that provide the accountability required by a true profession. ROPA provides those sanctions. Becoming a Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA) will be voluntary, but we encourage all SAA members who work as professionals--whether in an academic or non-academic setting--to register with ROPA and hence to become publicly accountable for upholding an explicit set of research standards and ethical practices. By joining and supporting ROPA, we can ensure that the term "professional archaeologist" has greater credibility to the society that supports us.