Archaeology Field School Receives Register of Professional Archaeologists Certification

Register of Professional Archaeologists Field School Certification Program

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Dr. Brian Bates, Director of the Dr. James W. Jordan Archaeology Field School, is pleased to announce that the Field School has been successful in earning certification by the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA), making it one of only 18 field schools in the world to be certified by that professional organization. The RPA promotes the establishment and maintenance of professional standards in archaeology. Students completing an RPA certified field school will be trained in the discipline’s highest standards of research and site stewardship.

Around the world, archaeological sites are put at risk through development, looting, demolition, infrastructure projects – and sometimes, sub-par archaeology. In 1974, the Society of American Archaeology (SAA) passed a resolution stating, “no site deserves less than professional excavation, analysis and publication,” and noted that, while teaching the next generation of archaeologists is critical to the field, all archaeological fieldwork should have a serious research commitment to the resource. Sponsored by four national archaeological organizations (the Society for American Archaeology, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Society for Historical Archaeology and the American Anthropological Association), the RPA aids in the training of the next generation of archaeologists through its field school certification program.

RPA certification of a field school demonstrates to colleagues, students and scholars that the educational and training component of a project is integrated with scientific research questions. The principal investigator of every certified field school has demonstrated that instructors and personnel are qualified archaeologists; that the field program and curriculum includes an explicit, detailed schedule of instruction and supervision; that facilities are sufficient to meet research and training goals; and, lastly, that information generated by the project will be analyzed and reported in the highest professional standards. Students attending an RPA-certified field school can be assured that they are receiving quality training that will help them meet their professional goals in the worlds of academia and cultural resource management.

In addition, every certified field school is eligible to be considered to receive a $1,000 scholarship from the one of the sponsoring organizations of the RPA, which can be used to offset student expenses.

There are many excellent archaeological field schools in the United States and around the world. RPA certification serves not just as quality control, but as an assurance that students are receiving the best possible experience and that our finite archaeological resources are being studied respectfully and responsibly.

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