Ethics Policy

This version (1.1) of the ethics policy was approved through a more than 67% majority vote at the Virtual Annual General Meeting from Limassol, Cyprus, 16 June 2021.

Version 1.0, 21 March 2018, by the CAA ethics working group (Members, in alphabetical order: Tom Brughmans, Hugh Corley, L. Meghan Dennis, Kate Ellenberger, Penelope Foreman, César González-Pérez, Vivian S. James, Rachel Opitz, Hanna Marie Pageau, Sara Perry, Lorna-Jane Richardson, Doug Rocks-Macqueen, Arianna Traviglia)

Current Ethics Officers


  • L. Meghan Dennis
  • Eduardo Herrera Malatesta
  • Priscilla Ulguim
  • Alicia Walsh

Ethics Incident Reporting


CAA International promotes ethical, collegial, and professional behaviour by its members. The CAA Executive Steering Committee and the 2018 Annual General Meeting strongly endorse the principles set out in this document and encourage all members of the CAA to follow them in order to maintain an open and supportive community, to fulfil our responsibilities to one another and the community as archaeological professionals, and our responsibilities as creators and stewards of the archaeological record.

CAA Ethics Policy

Principle 1: Collegiality

Professional Conduct

CAA International aims to foster a welcoming and professional community, open to anyone interested in the aims of the society. CAA International expects its members to conduct themselves in a manner that is considerate and respectful of their peers, in both digital and non-digital interactions.


CAA International does not tolerate harassment of any form, in person or via digital media. Harassment includes any unwelcome conduct toward an individual that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive professional environment. This includes comments or jokes, nonverbal conduct, such as staring, and giving inappropriate gifts, physical conduct, such as assault or unwanted touching, and exposure to visual images, such as offensive pictures, cartoons, drawings, or gestures.

Principle 2: Diversity

Diverse Perspectives

CAA International promotes the principle that the scholarly community is improved by a variety of perspectives and seeks to build a diverse community.


Discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, religion or any other basis are not tolerated.


CAA International encourages the full participation of members from all nations. While the official language of the organization and conference is English, members are encouraged to actively promote the participation of non-native speakers, and to ensure that no member is discouraged from participation on the basis of linguistic ability.


Wherever possible, the CAA membership is committed to making reasonable accommodations to facilitate the full participation of its members. 

Principle 3: Stewardship of the Archaeological Record

Data Stewardship

CAA International promotes the stewardship of the digital archaeological record, as a responsibility equivalent to that the profession has to material archaeological remains. CAA members should work for the long-term preservation of the archaeological record by practicing and promoting stewardship and best practices in digital data creation, management and archiving.

Respecting Intellectual Contributions

CAA International supports the principles of open scholarship. To encourage open scholarship practices it encourages its members to clearly and consistently recognize the intellectual contributions of others.

Data as Intellectual Property

Intellectual property in the form of data and records should be treated as under the stewardship of the archaeological community, on behalf of the public, rather than as objects of personal property. If no legal restrictions or strong counter-interests are present, primary preferential access to original data may be maintained for a limited time, after which these data should be made openly available, with proper recognition of their origin and the contributions of their creators.

Principle 4: Creation of Opportunities

Training and Education

CAA International sees providing training and education opportunities as essential to the future of digital and computational archaeology and the community. It encourages members to provide access to opportunities for training and experience, and to facilities and other support that will improve the ability of all members to carry out research and other professional activities.

Direct Support and Material Subventions

CAA International is committed to providing opportunities to a diverse community by facilitating their participation in CAA community events and training or other activities. Within the scope of CAA committee activities, the circumstances of individuals will be taken into consideration with the aim of increasing community diversity.

Principle 5: Engagement and Outreach

Outreach as a Responsibility

CAA International recognizes the importance of public outreach and engagement as part of the practice of professional archaeology. Members are encouraged to undertake these activities themselves through digital and non-digital media, and to support efforts made by their peers.

Accountability to the Public and Affected Communities

CAA International acknowledges that the work of our members, digital and non-digital, may affect a number of communities and members of the general public. It is committed to engagement and consultation with groups and individuals impacted by archaeological work carried out by CAA members, with the aim of building relationships that are respectful and mutually beneficial.

Promotion of Digital and Computational Archaeology

Members of CAA International, as practitioners of digital and computational archaeology, are expected to promote the discipline through their professional conduct and actions. Members are encouraged to seek public support for the preservation of the archaeological record including the digital record, provide education on good practices in digital and computational archaeology, and communicate archaeological interpretations through digital and computational methods.

Appendix I: CAA Ethics Reporting Process

A report can be made anonymously by the victim or a witness to an event. All allegations of breaches of the CAA International ethics policy will be investigated (anonymous or otherwise). Reports are received by the CAA ethics officers. On receipt of a report, the officers together with the ESC will appoint an ad hoc committee of preferably 5 past or present CAA members to manage the investigation.

If upon investigation allegations can be substantiated then appropriate action will be taken, and where necessary, law enforcement authorities will be notified. In cases where there is a victim (or multiple) and they have chosen to provide their contact information to the committee, they will be consulted on next steps before law enforcement is involved. Individual incidents and those with clear geographic ties will be reported to law enforcement where they took place; online or multi-site violations will be reported to law enforcement where the perpetrator resides. If after investigation a report of ethics violation is found to have merit, this will be published (individuals involved will decide themselves whether they are made known or remain anonymous). If no merit is found, the fact of this investigation will be published but all personal information withheld to protect privacy.

Fields required for Ethics Reporting form:

  • Date of incident
  • Are you a victim or a witness?
  • Name(s) of alleged perpetrator(s)
  • Name(s) of other possible witnesses
  • Location of incident
  • Details of incident
  • Any additional information

It will need to be possible to submit a form without an email address to ensure anonymity.

Appendix II: CAA International Ethical Behaviour Review Process

A review of CAA International’s ethics performance will be performed once a year after the international conference. Each review will cover the period of conference preparation, conference event, and the initial phase of proceedings preparation in the immediate post-conference period. The review will be performed in the three months immediately following the conference event. The review will be executed by the CAA ethics officers and reviewed by the CAA ESC. The review will focus on evaluating the following:

  • CAA International’s implementation of and compliance with the CAA ethics policy.
  • The ESC’s performance in enabling CAA International’s compliance with the CAA ethics policy.
  • The conference organisers’ performance in implementing the CAA ethics policy at the conference event following the guidelines for conference organisers.
  • The ESC’s and conference organisers’ and ethics officers’ handling of anonymous and other ethics-breach reports.
  • (by ESC) the ethics officers’ performance in executing CAA International’s annual ethics review and handling reports.

Appendix III: CAA Ethics Officers

The ESC of CAA International will select six past or current CAA members for the roles of CAA Ethics Officers. Officers will serve three year terms. The ESC may invite officers to serve a second term (or a maximum of six years) and terms will be staggered to help maintain continuity when new officers are appointed. The ethics officers will be co-opted members of the CAA Steering Committee. Multiple officers are selected for this post to account for the case where a breach of the CAA ethics policy concerns one of the officers. The appointed officers should not all be of the same gender.

Tasks of the CAA ethics officers:

  • Advise the ESC on how to comply with the ethics policy
  • Perform the annual CAA International internal ethics assessment.
  • Coordinate and implement the anonymous and other reporting processes.
  • Advise during the abstract review process on submissions flagged for ethics review.
  • On receipt of a report, the officers together with the ESC will appoint an ad hoc committee of preferably 5 past or present CAA members to manage the investigation.
  • If after investigation allegations can be substantiated, then the existence and conclusion of the investigation will be published, and appropriate further action will be taken by the officers together with the ESC which could include withdrawal of CAA membership, declining access to CAA activities and notification of law enforcement authorities where necessary.
  • If after investigation allegations are not substantiated, then the fact that an investigation took place will be published without providing further details.

Appendix IV: CAA Ethics Guide for Conference Organisers


  • Standards of Conduct
  • Accessibility to CAA events and opportunities
  • Sharing and publishing of presentations
  • Open Access to digital scholarship products and documentation
  • Harassment
  • Funding and labour

Standards of Conduct

While some disruptions are inevitable (e.g. use of technology for conference activities, entering and exiting rooms) we expect attendees to make all reasonable effort to minimize them. If attendees expect disruptions in advance, we suggest notifying the chair so they can prepare and assist.

Accessibility to CAA Events and Opportunities

All CAA events’ organizers should strive to meet the attendance needs of all its members. Venues for events and conferences should ideally have:

  • Hearing aid loops
  • Wheelchair access
  • Lifts/elevators
  • Space for wheelchairs in room, including in the seating area
  • Several seats set aside at the front of large conference rooms for attendees with limited mobility and hearing difficulty
  • A field or checkbox on event registration forms, or contact details of conference organizers, where participants can ask for assistance
  • Information about the accessibility features that will be available at the event should be included on the event website so attendees can plan ahead

Approximately 10-30% of the population has a disability. Making minor adjustments will help more members attend the conference and be able to participate fully in scholarly activities. We realise that the quality of resources available will be variable; in many countries older buildings are exempt from requirements such as wheelchair ramps so this is not a blanket requirement, but all organisers should take these requirements into account when deciding on a venue.

Sharing and Publishing of Presentations

This covers all public sharing of presentations or parts of them and could be through mediums like, but not exclusively: social media (e.g. live tweeting or taking photos), writing up summaries of presentations (e.g. on a blog or in a newsletter), video or audio recording and posting of presentations online.

Sharing First and Opt Out policy

All participants are encouraged to share scholarly conference activities in a public manner. We strongly encourage that CAA events adopt an “opt out” policy where sharing is assumed, and presenters are responsible for communicating their boundaries regarding sharing conference activities.

Any speaker, session organizer, or event coordinator may opt out of having their work, parts of their work, or specific media types (e.g. photos or video of their presentation) shared by clearly stating their request to the audience. Conference organisers are recommended to prepare signs that can be placed on the doors of session rooms during such presentations. The author or organizer should make such an announcement at the beginning of the presentation/discussion and clearly state all the items or topics that they do not want shared. This request should be repeated as necessary to ensure that attendees who join later in a session will know the boundaries set by the presenters. Presenters do not need to provide any justification as to why they do not want their work shared and all participants should respect those wishes.

If a presenter has not specifically stated that aspects should not be shared, the other participants can assume they can share them. Attendees who are joining a presentation or discussion after it has begun should wait until the end of such event before sharing, so they can confirm that there was no request to refrain.


We have opted for an open first policy. We believe this reinforces the spirit of the conference to share ideas and collaborate widely. Open first also opens up our scholarly events to members who cannot attend conferences for any reason (financial, scheduling, disability, etc.) who have valuable contributions to make to our community. Furthermore, sharing presentations can help us keep up with our colleagues’ latest research on a greater scale. Encouraging participants to share their work more may lead to more opportunities for collaboration and innovation within our scholarly community.

The alternative to an opt-out policy is an opt-in policy. The opt-in approach takes much more effort and more resources than what we have chosen, and it often leads to worry and closing of community boundaries. There are many legitimate reasons why work cannot be shared publicly, and it is already best practice to be clear about these boundaries in presenting one’s research, so we believe the opt-out policy is best for the CAA.

Conference Material Searchability

We strongly encourage organizers of any CAA events to coordinate with the CAA ESC to promote a hashtag (either for the organization in general or the event specifically) or other actions which will help attendees to find event-related materials on social media.


There are robust social networks of digital archaeology scholars online. Providing an official hashtag will allow them to find others attending the conference, discuss scholarly conference activities, and help scholars follow the conference from afar. This will also make conference material easily searchable and scrapeable, so CAA International can get information about online participation in its events.

Open Access to Digital Scholarship Products and Documentation

Publications created by or through CAA should be made Open Access. The process for publishing should minimize barriers to participation as much as possible (e.g. minimize or waive article processing charges for those who cannot afford them, address language barriers).


At this time the majority of archaeologists do not have access to much of the peer reviewed literature. Our field is made up of colleagues with many different vocations, native languages, and countries of origin, and our publication practices should strive to include our colleagues as much as possible. Improving access to peer-reviewed work will benefit the discipline as a whole by making it easier to find quality research and best practices.

Harassment and Inappropriate Behaviour

Harassment of any kind will not be accepted at CAA events and conferences. Harassment is defined as any form of unwanted physical, verbal, or digital contact that the recipient perceives as threatening their safety or bodily autonomy.

We strongly encourage event organizers to publicly designate two persons at each event who are willing to serve as advocates for attendees experiencing harassment, at the least. These advocates should be available in person and digitally, their contact information should be shared with all attendees, and they should commit to maintaining the confidentiality of those who seek their assistance.


Designating advocates is the most practical, easy to implement form of support we can provide to show that the CAA International supports a safe and professional conference environment. It is well-documented that harassment, sexual assault, and intimidation exist in our field and having a structure in place to help our colleagues navigate potential instances of harassment is an important step toward combatting this behaviour. The aim of this is to ensure all our colleagues are able to participate fully in CAA events, and in our scholarly community.

Advocates can provide emotional support and assistance to harassed colleagues seeking to avoid additional harm during events. Reporting harassment to an official advocate may also help discourage harassment from continuing. We expect designated advocates to provide information about basic legal and medical options to colleagues who come to them, but not to provide any legal or medical advice. We envision that advocates may be able to help by assisting harassed colleagues in adjusting their schedule, arranging for companions to accompany them in challenging situations, and consult with the CAA ethics officers and ESC about how to move forward. It is important to have two advocates rather than one to ensure the availability of advocates and to ensure there is someone available if an advocate has been accused of harassment.

Funding and Labour


CAA International should take great care to consider potential ethical problems associated with proposed event sponsors. We suggest explicitly discussing ethical concerns among event organizers, the CAA ESC and the ethics officers before accepting any sponsorships. We especially discourage organizers to accept any form of sponsorship from:

  • Organisations/individuals that sell or are involved in the Antiquities trade
  • Organisations/individuals involved in bloodsports
  • Organisations that do business in illegal settlements or occupied territories
  • Heavy Carbon producers e.g. oil and gas companies, petrochemical companies

The practice of archaeology is embedded in contemporary and past sociopolitics. Our acceptance of corporate or institutional sponsorships, whether financial or in-kind, may be construed as endorsement for their other practices. It is critical to the scholarly integrity of the organization that we consider the potential ethical problems with particular sources of sponsorship before accepting any agreements. We believe the most appropriate way to do this is to involve the CAA ESC as well as the event organizers since this has implications for the organization as a whole.

Voluntary and Unpaid Labour

Volunteers and unpaid labour should not be used in a way that replaces paid labour. Wherever possible, funding to help cover the costs of volunteering are encouraged. All volunteers and unpaid labour opportunities facilitated by the CAA ESC or CAA event organizers should include supervision and defined educational outcomes.


We acknowledge that volunteering and unpaid labour are essential for gaining experience and meeting professionals. However, we are also aware of the burden that it places on those providing labour without pay. We have included these guidelines to ensure that the volunteering and unpaid opportunities facilitated by the CAA are both educational and properly supervised, with the professional benefit for the participants clearly defined.