About the RPA


What is the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA)?


The Register of Professional Archaeologists is a listing of archaeologists who have agreed to abide by an explicit code of conduct and standards of research performance, who hold a graduate degree in archaeology, anthropology, art history, classics, history, or another germane discipline and who have completed a thesis or dissertation (or its equivalent) that addresses a substantive archaeological research question.

Registration is a voluntary act that recognizes an individual's personal responsibility to be held accountable for their professional behavior. By formally acknowledging this relationship between personal actions and the wider discipline of archaeology, the act of registration is truly what sets the professional archaeologist apart from all others who are involved with or interested in archaeology.


Established in 1998, the Register provides the mechanism for the easy identification of Registered Professional Archaeologists (RPA). RPAs are listed in a directory, published annually, and updated quarterly on the Register's website at www.rpanet.org. RPAs may also identify themselves by displaying a registration certificate or by the abbreviation RPA after their names.


A hallmark of the Register of Professional Archaeologists is a formal grievance procedure that allows for the investigation of complaints about the professional conduct of an RPA. If an allegation of a violation of the code or standards is supported during an investigation, sanctions, including termination of registration, can be given. Fair investigation and efforts at resolution through mediation always precede any formal proceedings.





The establishment and acceptance of universal standards in archaeology is the fundamental goal of the Register of Professional Archaeologists. As a voluntary act, registration will only serve to improve our abilities to establish and maintain high standards of professional conduct when the majority of qualified archaeologists are RPAs. In order to achieve this goal, the Register and its sponsors are working to encourage registration. They are also working to obtain the endorsement of the Register by other national, regional, and local organizations, as well as by organizations that serve a review, referral, or granting function.





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.

If you would like to learn more about each of the RPA's sponsoring societies, please click here to visit the "Sponsors of the RPA" page on this website.



Find Out More


If you have additional questions about the Register of Professional Archaeologists, please visit our FAQ page.


If you are interested in applying for registration, but have questions or concerns about the qualifications and documentation required, please visit our Application FAQ page.


Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal