Digital Archaeological Ethics: Successes and Failures in Disciplinary Attention

Bibliographic Information

Article Title

Digital Archaeological Ethics: Successes and Failures in Disciplinary Attention

Journal Title

Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology


Dennis, Meghan

Year of Publication


Volume Number


Issue Number


Article Pages


Web Address (URL)

Additional Information

Available Through

Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology




The assumption that archaeologists will behave ethically in fieldwork, analysis, and publication relies on a further assumption, that they have been taught what ethics mean in those contexts. Though the ethics of participation in archaeological contexts have been defined (and refined) over the life of the discipline, the emergence of digital technologies as tools, and the centering of digital methodologies in archaeology have created new areas requiring ethical consideration. The adoption of discipline-wide standards of digital archaeological ethics has been slow, and the output of digitally centered archaeological data and published products has outpaced ethical discussion and implementation of ethical guidelines. The result is a generation of archaeologists who are versed in digital forms, but whose work is ungrounded in consensus-led ethical frameworks that explicitly reference the digital. This paper details how ethics should be considered as digital archaeology moves forward, with discussions of existing successes and failures.


Keywords & Terms

Topics & Issues