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Archaeology Matters

Excellent news about the Institute for Archaeologists’ Petition for a Royal Charter!

The Petition for a Royal Charter of Incorporation put forward by the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) was considered by the Privy Council at its meeting on 11 February 2014, and Her Majesty the Queen was pleased to sign the Order of Grant.

Celebrate now, but save some capacity for later! Several profound formalities need to happen before the new Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) comes into being and the change of name happens, including drawing up the Charter on vellum, signing and the application of the Great Seal. This gives time for IfA to set in train all the processes required to complete this momentous transition.

This decision is a spectacular endorsement of the role of  archaeologists. IfA successfully made the case to the Privy Council that archaeology is a clear and distinct discipline working in the public interest. IfA established that IfA’s accredited members subscribe to an ethical Code of conduct, have demonstrated their competence and made a commitment to developing their skills through Continuing Professional Development, and are subject to the oversight of their peers – the essential elements of professionalism. We have also shown the Privy Council that we have robust and fair processes for accrediting individuals and organisations, measuring compliance with standards, and for investigating allegations of unprofessional practice; and we have set out a sound, efficient and transparent structure of governance – the necessary components of any professional institute seeking recognition.

Peter Hinton, IfA’s Chief Executive, says:
If there remained any doubt that archaeology is a profession, uncertainty ends here. Things will be different now. Our influence is massively strengthened. The award of a Royal Charter will not be the end of a process but the best possible opportunity to increase the effectiveness of our campaign to enhance the status of archaeology and archaeologists, to raise standards of archaeological practice and so to give yet better service to clients and the public.’

Jan Wills, Honorary Chair of IfA, says:
This great news is a tribute to the hard work of this and previous Councils of IfA, their committees, groups and staff, who have over the years created a professional institute with the credibility needed for the granting of a Royal Charter. That the value of archaeology to the public, and our standing as a profession, has been recognised in this prestigious way is a tribute to our members. IfA members will at last attain parity of esteem with other professionals, by being recognised as belonging to a profession served by a Chartered Institute. ‘I hope this momentous occasion will encourage archaeologists who are not members of our Institute to submit an application to become recognised as professionals, and so to participate in further developing the practice of the discipline we love.’

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