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Unlike most other archaeological organizations, the Register of Professional Archaeologists is not a membership society. It is focused solely on the promotion and maintenance of professional standards in archaeology and the registration of qualified archaeologists.


Recognizing the pervasive importance of this need, the Register was created by a joint task force of the Society of Professional Archaeologists, Society for American Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology, and the Archaeological Institute of America. Through a vote of its board and membership, SOPA voted to transfer its responsibility, authority, and assets to the Register and to enter into a dormant state.


The SHA, SAA, and AIA all voted to become sponsors of the Register. Shortly thereafter, the American Anthropological Association also became a sponsor of the Register. Sponsorship means that these scholarly organizations endorse the mission of the Register, encourage their qualified members to register, and provide annual financial support.

The Archaeology Division of the
American Anthropological Association (AAA)

The Archeology Division of the American Anthropological Association was founded in 1983 to 
advance the study of archeology as an aspect of anthropology, to provide a forum for members to discuss issues central to the development of archeology, and to foster the publication and communication of the results of archeological research and interpretations to anthropologists, to other scholars, and to the
general public.

Members of the Archeology Division receive the AAA flagship journal, the American Anthropologist, and publications in the Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association series.

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)

The AIA has been dedicated to the encouragement and support of archaeological research and publication and to the protection of the world's cultural heritage for more than a century. A non-profit cultural and educational organization chartered by the U.S. Congress, it is the oldest and largest archaeological organization in North America, with more than 11,000 members around the world.

The Archaeological Institute of America/Institut ArchÈologique d'AmÈrique (AIA/IAA - Canada) was incorporated in Canada in 1994 as an independent affiliate of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA-U.S.).

Members of the Institute have conducted fieldwork in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The AIA has further promoted archaeological studies by founding research centers and schools in seven countries and maintains close relations with these institutions, including the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the School of Classical Studies at the American Academy in Rome, and others.

The Society for American Archaeology (SAA)

The SAA  is an international organization dedicated to the research, interpretation, and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas. With more than 7,200 members, the society represents professional, student, and avocational archaeologists working in a variety of settings including government agencies, colleges and universities, museums, and the private sector.

Since its inception in 1934, SAA has endeavored to stimulate interest and research in American archaeology; advocated and aid in the conservation of archaeological resources; encourage public access to and appreciation of archaeology; oppose all looting of sites and the purchase and sale of looted archaeological materials; and serve as a bond among those interested in the archaeology of the Americas.

The Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA)

Formed in 1967, the SHA is the largest scholarly group concerned with the archaeology of the modern world (A.D. 1400-present). The main focus of the society is the era since the beginning of European exploration. SHA promotes scholarly research and the dissemination of knowledge concerning historical archaeology.

The society is specifically concerned with the identification, excavation, interpretation, and conservation of sites and materials on land and underwater. Geographically the society emphasizes the New World, but also includes European exploration and settlement in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

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