APPENDIX 6- Other Archaeological Principles and Organizations

Archaeological resources management in Canada is framed by ethical principles and obligations set by archaeological organizations and international conservation organizations. Parks Canada’s archaeologists abide by such principles.  Parks Canada is an active participant and leader in national and international organizations that shape the field of preservation of cultural resources and in particular of archaeological resources.  Parks Canada is committed to abide by high standards in the practice of archaeology and archaeological resources management.    

Code of Ethics

For a number of years, the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA) has had a ‘Statement of Principles for Ethical Conduct Pertaining to Aboriginal Peoples’. In May 2000, the CAA further broadened its archaeological code of principles by adopting ‘Principles of Ethical Conduct’ for the profession. In the provinces and territories, only the Association des archéologues du Québec has a code of ethics.

Other codes of ethics have been written by international associations. A code of ethics was adopted in Barquisimeto, Venezuela by the World Archaeological Congress in 1990. The Society for Historical Archaeology has set forth its ethical positions in Article VII of its bylaws. In 1996, the Society of American Archaeology Executive Board adopted the ‘Principles of  Archaeological Ethics’.

International Charters

Professionals in Canada are guided by the principles set by international organizations such as the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Four Charters in particular provide guidance on archaeological resources management: the Venice Charter, the Burra Charter, and the Charter for the Protection and Management of the Archaeological Heritage, and the Charter on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

In 1965, ICOMOS adopted a Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites, also known as the ‘Venice Charter’. This Charter is the founding document describing the principles of appropriate conservation.

In 1979, the Australian National Committee of ICOMOS adopted a Charter on the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance or the 'Burra Charter'.  It outlines the principles and practices of conservation based on the cultural significance (or value) of historic places. It has since been revised and the current and valid version is the one adopted in 1999. Although it is a national Charter, it is deemed to have relevance for other countries and is often a reference when addressing issues of management based on values.

In 1990, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) adopted a Charter for the Protection and Management of the Archaeological Heritage, or the 'Lausanne Charter'. It reflects basic principles and guidelines with respect to the management of archaeological resources. It is a reference for policies and practice.

Finally, in 1999, a Charter for the Protection and Management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage was adopted by ICOMOS at its General Assembly in Sofia. It outlines the principles for the appropriate protection and management of cultural sites underwater. 

International Conventions

Canada supports and/or adheres to a number of international conventions.  These international commitments have an influence on the way we manage heritage in our country.

The Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property was adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1970. Canada formally acceded to it in 1978. Under article 5, countries are obliged to organize the supervision of archaeological excavations, ensuring the preservation in situ of certain cultural property, and protecting certain areas reserved for future archaeological research.

In 1976, Canada adhered to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (“World Heritage Convention”). This convention refers to a country’s heritage generally, but is not sufficiently detailed to guide the management of archaeological resources.

In November 2001, the  Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage was adopted by the 31st session of the UNESCO General Conference. The convention requires States Parties to adopt necessary measures to preserve the underwater cultural heritage of humanity.  Canada has yet to make a decision regarding ratification.

Organizations on the WEB (as of 12-2005)

Archaeology at Parks Canada

Association des archéologues du Québec

Canadian Archaeological Association



Society for American Archaeology

Society for Historical Archaeology

World Archaeological Congress


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