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The Register of Professional Archaeologists

is a community of professional archaeologists. Our mission is to establish and adhere to standards and ethics that represent and adapt to the dynamic field of archaeology and to provide a resource for entities who rely on professional archaeology services.


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Register News

  • 17 Aug 2023 3:38 PM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    August 17, 2023

    The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) and the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) are pleased to announce that the two organizations are expanding their relationship to strengthen the SAA’s Meeting Safety Policy. The changes allow for reports of misconduct by attendees of SAA meetings or events to be referred to the RPA for investigation under the RPA’s Code of Conduct.

    The RPA is the certifying body for archaeology in the United States. The SAA is a founding member of this vital organization, which serves as the backbone of the standards and certification of archaeologists. As the credentialing body, the RPA has expertise in investigating reports of misconduct in the archaeological community.

    The new stronger and more formal partnership will help the SAA enforce its Meeting Safety Policy to the benefit of members and other meeting attendees. Christopher Dore, an SAA member who served on the SAA’s Findings Verification Committee and as a past president of the RPA says, “This is a significant step forward for the advancement of archaeology as a profession. Professions require accountability and adherence to a code of conduct. This agreement establishes the long-overdue use of the Register’s grievance process by the SAA.”

    The SAA’s Meeting Safety Policy is detailed on its website and has been updated to reflect the new SAA/RPA agreement (Section VI). SAA president Dan Sandweiss says both organizations were careful to ensure the integrity of the process: “Reports submitted to the SAA through its Meeting Safety Policy process remain confidential throughout the investigative process. The goal of this groundbreaking agreement is to enhance the safety of the SAA annual meeting and its associated events.”

    The expanded agreement between the organizations retains the RPA’s expertise as a credentialing entity and the SAA’s identity as a membership association.

  • 17 Aug 2023 9:08 AM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    Dear Archaeologist,

    The US Department of the Interior has announced that the Secretary of the Interior (SOI) Professional Qualifications Standards (Standards) are currently under review. The SOI Standards were originally published in 1983 and have guided the trajectory of the cultural resources management (CRM) industry in the United States over the past 40 years.

    The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Government Affairs Committee plans to use this opportunity to advocate for the accurate addressing of the archaeological community’s concerns and contemporary practices. 

    The SOI Standards Survey will remain open for 30 days until 5:00 p.m. EDT, Thursday, September 7. The survey is located here. We encourage all archaeologists of every career stage who work or intend to potentially work in US contexts to take this survey. While all questions are optional, please answer this survey as honestly and completely as possible. Additionally, please feel free to share this survey with anyone involved in US archaeology who would be willing to share their views. Your input here will help drive the future of archaeology in the United States.

    If you have already answered this survey, many thanks. There is no need to do it again.Sincerely,

    The SAA Government Affairs Committee Members

    Dan Sandweiss
    President, Society for American  Archaeology 

  • 7 Jun 2023 12:08 PM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    As a valued member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists, we are excited to invite you to participate in an important decision-making process. Your voice and participation are vital as we shape the future of our organization through new bylaws.

    Over the past year, our Governance Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors have been diligently reviewing and revising our existing bylaws to ensure they align with our evolving needs and aspirations. We believe that these proposed bylaws will not only streamline our operations but also promote greater transparency, accountability, and Registrant participation.

    Earlier this year, the Register circulated draft revised bylaws for Registrant review and comment. We received many comments and made revisions to improve them. Generally, the revised bylaws accomplish the following:

    • Accommodate the addition of other categories of registration, such as the RA category, and leave open the possibility of establishing additional categories;
    • Clarify the powers, responsibilities, and terms of the officers and directors of the board;
    • Clarify and expand the procedures for decision making by the board, including a definition of quorum, limits of authority for officers;
    • Rename secondary boards like the Standards Board to “councils” so that the only “board” is the board of directors;
    • Rename and distinguish between standing committees and task forces, and establishes their limits of authority;
    • Provide detailed fiscal management procedures and limitations; and
    • Describe the process by which future amendments to the Bylaws are pursued.

    Additional changes were related to the physical organization and order of topics presented, or to include language that is required by the IRS for the applicable section of the tax code for non-profits.

    To proceed with this transformative step, we now invite you to vote on the proposed new bylaws. Your input will play a crucial role in shaping the direction and governance of the Register. The voting process will be conducted online and will commence on June 7, 2023, and conclude on July 5, 2023. During this period, all Registrants (RPA or RA) in good standing members will have the opportunity to cast their vote and make their voices heard. Student / Early Career members are not eligible for voting.

    Cast Your Vote Today!

    We understand that this is an important decision for our organization, and we encourage you to carefully review the proposed bylaws before casting your vote. To facilitate a thorough understanding of the changes, we have made available a copy of the new bylaws, along with a redlined copy and the existing bylaws. The poll will be active for 30 days. 

    We firmly believe that a strong and vibrant organization relies on the active participation of its members. By casting your vote, you contribute to shaping our collective future and ensuring that the Register remains a thriving community.

    Thank you for your dedication to the Register, and we look forward to your participation in this essential voting process.

  • 30 May 2023 10:44 AM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    Check out Register president Trish Fernandez along with her fellow organization presidents discuss "Experience of Degrees and Degrees of Experience" in this month's issue of the SAA Archaeological record!

  • 17 May 2023 12:39 PM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    The Register is uniquely positioned to provide resources and excellence to affiliate organizations that represent local or state interests which could extend the Register’s networking, education, and outreach opportunities for their members as well.

    Currently, there are 18 affiliate organizations across the US and Canada, but we would love to see more. That's where you come in. We need your help to reach out to your local and state archaeological societies and encourage them to become RPA affiliates. 

    By becoming an affiliate, these local and state societies can enjoy many advantages, such as:

    - Increased visibility and recognition as a professional group

    - Access to RPA's online database of certified archaeologists

    - Eligibility for grants and awards from the RPA

    - Participation in RPA's networking meeting and workshops

    - Collaboration and communication with other affiliates and the RPA board

    To become an affiliate, a society needs to meet the following criteria:

    - Have at least 10 RPA members in good standing

    - Have a mission statement that aligns with the RPA's goals and values

    - Agree to abide by the RPA's code of conduct and standards of research performance

    - Pay an annual fee

    If you know of a society that meets these criteria and might be interested in becoming an affiliate, please contact them and share this information with them. You can also direct them to our website ( where they can find more details and an application form.

    We appreciate your support and involvement in the RPA. Together, we can make a difference for archaeology and its practitioners.

  • 18 Apr 2023 4:01 PM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    President’s First Quarter Report

    Greetings, Registrants!

    I hope you all had a nice winter and are ready for what promises to be a busy year for all of us. It certainly is busy here at the Register, so I’ll get right to it!

    The President of any organization is responsible for ensuring and facilitating the implementation of the organization’s Strategic Plan. Our Board approved the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan early last year.

    2022 Strategic Plan Activities. The Board prioritized auditing our administrative and governance components and restructuring and revising them to ensure that the Register was functioning properly to support our programs. The audit also served to ensure that there is adequate documentation to provide consistency through leadership transitions. Having set those components on the right path, I am now able to focus on the program aspects of our Strategic Plan: credentialing and accountability, which translate to the registration and grievance processes. One of the guiding tenets of our reorganization has been to focus on credentialing and accountability, which is what the Register was created to do by our Founding Organizations.

    As a result, we have stripped ourselves of activities that other professional organizations do on a much grander scale in the belief that our energy and funds will better serve our archaeological community in the long run by doing so. To help guide this effort, one of my priorities as President has been to reach out to our fellow organizations to build community (also part of the Strategic Plan) and my request has been that we all figure out: 

    • what the community’s priorities are
    • what each organization does best, and
    • how we can all work together toward our common goals while staying in our own lane.

    This effort seems to be working but it takes constant communication and recalibrating when we get distracted off the path.

    So, what does that mean for you, the Registrants, and the rest of the archaeological community?

    We hear you. We know that addressing the issues of adequate training, proper pay, respectful recognition of our various roles--respectful treatment throughout the community for all of us—is so overdue. Our Strategic Plan helps us here, and this is what we have in store for 2023:

    Diversity. First, I am seeking diverse representation in all of our committees, task forces, and advisory groups. And our new Nominating Committee is tasked to do the same for our elected positions (President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, Registrar, Grievance Coordinator Elect, and Standards Board). You should be seeing a voluntary survey soon asking for you to help us in this effort by telling us how you identify.

    Registration Categories. To focus on credentialing, we are reviewing our current requirements through our newly developed Registration Categories Task Force, comprised of a representative of a large CRM company (SEARCH), a small DBE CRM company (Dovetail Consulting), academia (Edward Gonzalez-Tennant, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), a Registered Archaeologist (Jesica Huddleston), and a tribal representative (Wendy Ferris, Hoopa). Their tasks are to determine how we can broaden our categories to include all working archaeologists and to raise our highest level of qualifications to exceed the Secretary of Interior standards. This may require a change in acronyms.

    Professional Pathway. To assist archaeologists gain entry-level positions and advance in their career, we are developing a Professional Pathways program under the umbrella of our Professional Development Committee (which now encompasses the Continuing Education and Field Schools Certification programs). This is a major effort, the vision of which is for the Register to serve as a hub for the vast and growing network of grassroots and institutional training venues available to us. The Register will first have to create a core curriculum (in consultation with our community representatives), then we can certify even the smallest training event or on-the-job activity for Register credit. We would then track training through a sort of Passport program. Our hope is that training for our student members would be free or low-cost.

    Partners. Of course, we need help from our community, so our Outreach Committee will be focusing on strengthening our existing relationships with Founding Organizations and Affiliated Societies, and expanding our partnership program to include other like organizations (such as ACRA, National Association of Environmental Planners, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, and the European Association of Archaeologists) and to educational partners that would include universities (through the ACRA Academic Collaboration program), CRM companies (for on-the-job training or specific training courses), existing partners (Founding Organizations and Affiliated Societies) and other non-profits such as:

    Our goal is for registration and partnership funding and pro-bono education services to sustain our overall funding needs. Please send us names of other organizations we should be reaching out to; we know there are so many out there and need your help.

    Financial Health. We also are auditing our financial policies (through the help of our new Financial Plan Task Force) to ensure we are not only running efficiently, but that we are also clear about what our needs are for operations and program expenses, that we ensure our liability insurance covers us in the event of the unfortunate, and that our investment account is appropriately funded. We hope this effort will identify where we may find additional savings and where we may see surpluses to put back into our programs.

    Grievance. We also hear you on the Grievance process and are working to review it to ensure it remains fair, swift, and anonymous. We also want to help archaeologists and other stakeholders understand their role in bringing grievances to us. Finally, we want to ensure the repercussions for breaching our Code are adequate.

    We will have more information updating you on our progress on these fronts throughout the year. Overall, we hope that these efforts continue the vision of the Register to increase professionalism in our industry by setting the standard and holding us all accountable.

    In your service,

    Trish Fernandez, M.A., RPA 12198

    Register President

  • 2 Mar 2023 2:44 PM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    At The Register, we value the contributions of volunteers who help to plan and implement programs, events, and fundraising initiatives. Volunteers are essential to our successes as they share their knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm to help our organization achieve its mission.

    There are several different areas where volunteers are needed, including:

    • Help with the planning and organizing of events and meetings
    • Participation on committees
    • Serving on the board of directors
    • Assisting in the development of activities, projects, and fundraisers

    We are seeking volunteers who are enthusiastic and committed, who have experience in the areas in which our organization works, and who are able to give their time on a regular basis. If you know of anyone who would be interested, please let us know.

    If you would like to apply for a volunteer position or would like to recommend someone for a volunteer role, please contact our Communications Director, Dina, at

    We thank you for taking the time to consider this important request.


    The Register Team

  • 17 Jan 2023 3:11 PM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    Our colleagues at the Society for American Archaeology would like to invite you to help define the topics that will contour the future of cultural resource management (CRM) archaeology in the United States.

    In 1974, cultural resource management legislation spurred the organization of a conference at the Airlie House retreat in Warrenton, Virginia. Published in 1977, the report from the conference helped shape federal archaeology and cultural resource management over the next four decades. But the world is rapidly changing, and archaeology needs to convene a new Airlie House-like conference in order to address such issues as improving engagement and partnerships with descendant communities, climate change impacts, decolonizing archaeology, and academic training that supports and advances compliance with our nation’s historic preservation laws.

    Please provide advice about the topics that should be discussed at such a workshop.

    You may have already participated in the October 2022 survey on an initial list of topics; thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    As further outreach, the SAA will host an online Zoom webinar on February 8, 2023. And as a third conduit for information, if you are coming to the SAA 88th Annual Meeting in Portland, you can also join our in-person conversation on Thursday, March 30: “Back to the Future: The National Historic Preservation Act and the SAA/NPS Airlie House Seminars Revisited.”

    Online Zoom Webinar

    Date: February 8, 2023

    Time: 2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Eastern

    Register: Webinar Registration

    Content: The digital conversation about workshop topics will review the impact that Airlie House had on the profession, outline the results of a recent survey on priority topics, and open the floor for conversation about missing or additional workshop topics.

    You do not need to be an SAA member to register. Registration will close on February 6. Registrants will receive an email on February 7 with a link to the webinar.

    You may forward this email to any relevant lists, but please only register once for the Zoom webinar as registration is limited to the first 300 registrants. The webinar will be recorded and posted after February 8, 2023, in case you cannot make the online event.

    To facilitate the online discussion, the survey results from October 2022 are posted online here. Once received, interviews from original Airlie House workshop attendees will also be posted on this page, as will the recording from the February online conversation.

    Please help shape the conversation about the future of archaeology in the United States.

  • 11 Jan 2023 1:14 PM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)


    I hope you all had a joyous and peaceful holiday and can embrace the new year with renewed hope and energy. This is typically a time to reflect on the past year, and for the Register, I believe 2022 will be remembered as the Year of Transition. In the past year, we have drafted new Bylaws and Codes and Standards, begun work on overhauling our Policies and Procedures, and hired a new Executive Director whose qualifications are focused not on archaeology but in running non-profit organizations. We have overhauled our accounting system to more efficiently document our finances and provide historical data for future decision making. In doing so, we have been able to streamline our annual budget. We have completed an internal audit of our human resources, insurance, and finances, and implemented changes to ensure transparency, accountability, and sustainability. We have established and strengthened relationships with our legal, investment, and accounting consultants such that we are truly partners in safeguarding your organization.

    We have also strengthened our relationships with our Founding Organizations and with major Partnering organizations such as ACRA, identifying as a team what we all do best, and how we can support each other toward our common goals while staying in our own “lane”. As a result of this, the Register has let go of activities and tasks that other organizations are doing so we can focus on what makes us unique and important, no critical to our profession:  credentialing and accountability.

    While we will continue this year to focus on administrative efficiencies, our renewed focus on credentialing and accountability has provided the first major step in our Strategic Plan by clearing the way for proactiveness in terms of aligning our Registrant categories with professional practices, providing opportunities for professional development beginning at the student level, and establishing partnering relationships that ensure that the Register not only works as part of the archaeological community but truly serves that community.

    We have accomplished so much this year and this is much yet to do. Please share your thoughts with us and let us know how we can continue to serve you and better reflect our entire archaeological professional community.

    In your service,

    Trish Fernandez, M.A.

    RPA 989366

  • 6 Jan 2023 4:02 PM | Dina Rivera (Administrator)

    The Register of Professional Archaeologists is excited to announce that the participation category for Students and Early Career Archaeologists is now live and accepting applications! 

    This initiative is part of our continued efforts to implement the Strategic Plan, the goals of which include promoting shared values and archaeological training and practice, facilitating professional development, and advocating for archaeologists.

    The eligibility requirements for this new category are listed below:

    • Currently enrolled or graduated with a minimum of a B.A., B.S., A.A., A.S, or equivalent in the past 2 years with a Major in Archaeology, Anthropology, Classics, or another germane discipline with a specialization in archaeology from an accredited institution
    • No Experience is required
    • An unofficial copy of Academic transcripts will be required to verify enrollment dates and declared major.
    • Recommended by an active RPA in good standing with the Register
    • Like all Register applicants, Accept Register’s Code and Standards and Grievance Procedures
    • Student/Early Career Registrants will not be able to vote on Register decisions but will be represented through an advisory committee liaison to the board.
    • Annual Fee will be $25 for the length of academic enrollment and up to 2 years after graduation with a Bachelor level degree.

    One key benefit of this category is that it extends the Register’s support to students to provide low or no-cost training as part of our evolving Professional Development Program. Other benefits include access to JSTOR, Registrant focused job listings, and the Archeological Ethics Database, as well as the increased opportunity for broader networking, support, mentoring, and career path assistance.

    Our goal is to provide a place at the Register not only for students, but for those who may have taken a respite from their studies, who may have begun a graduate program, or those that want to return to their studies. We aspire to embrace and encourage all students and early career archaeologists to progress into a profession that wants to help them along the way.

    Learn more at the Register FAQ and Apply today!

Archaeology In the News

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Join over 4,000 leading archaeologists in 16 countries who are making a commitment to disciplinary advancement through professionalism and accountability!



The organization commits to maintaining all appropriate sanitary, health, and safety measures and encourage registrants to follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.


The Archaeological Ethics Database is an ongoing project by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA).  


GRIEVANCE HOTLINE:  1-410-246-2150

One of the major goals of the Register of Professional Archaeologists is to provide and enforce the organization’s Code of Conduct (Code) and the Standards of Research Performance (Standards). The grievance hotline connects you directly to the Grievance Coordinator, avoiding office staff and intermediaries, for confidential consultation and information.

Find out more

*For non-Grievance queries, please call 1-317-798-2150.

Register of Professional Archaeologists
411 East Northfield Drive, Box 9
Brownsburg, IN  46112

Phone: (317) 798-3001

Grievance Hotline: (410) 246-2150 

You do not have to be an RPA/RA to file a Grievance


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