At the 2017 AGM, we determined that principal authors of papers will be members of the Association.

Motion: “That at our annual conference and associated activities, that the first presenters/authors of papers and posters are required to be members of the Association, but the committee would be empowered in certain circumstances to waive that requirement that they determined”. Moved: Chair. Motion carried unanimously.”

This was in relation to a perceived lack of oversight when it comes to conference presenters who make transgressions against the AAA Code of Ethics. Because the Constitution cites membership expulsion in cases where, ‘in the opinion of the Committee the member has been guilty of conduct detrimental to the interests of the Association’ (section 32), the stipulation that presenters must be members gives us greater power to enforce our ethical principals in the context of the conference.

I reference the above because part of last year’s discussion included the notion that a preamble to the Code of Ethics could be useful, as this gives the Association the opportunity to spell out, upfront, the ‘spirit’ of the code, as well as the implications of transgressing the code.

“Lara noted that some associations write clear preambles about the principles of the association to their codes of ethics. She suggested that AAA write a clear preamble to add to the code of ethics.”

To that end, I have written this preamble (below), and present it for discussion:


The Australian Archaeological Association is committed to the highest standards of conduct in archaeological practice. The Code of Ethics identifies a common set of values informing the ethical principles upon which members of the Association base their practice. Ethical responsibilities often exceed legal obligations and are based upon values, principles and conforming practice, as well as adherence to social policy regarding the moral and ethical principles of archaeological practice.  The Code of Ethics outlines the manner and method by which members should fulfil their ethical responsibilities to the interest groups with whom they work. In doing so, it does not seek to limit legitimate freedoms but to emphasise that the discharge of obligations detailed herein is crucial to proper practice. Adherence to the Code of Ethics is necessary for the well-being of all groups with whom members engage and vital to the integrity of the archaeological profession. In accepting these ethical principles, members shall endeavour to follow them consistently. Where members transgress the Code of Ethics, they may be subject to disciplinary procedures as defined by Section 32 of the Constitution.