Australian Association Of Consulting Archaeologists Inc


The Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI) is an organisation for professionals working in all fields of contract and public archaeology.

It aims to uphold and promote the discipline and to advance the welfare of members. AACAI has a Constitution, a Code of Ethics and a Consulting with Aboriginal Communities Policy Document.

It is affiliated with the Australian Archaeological Association Inc and is a Foundation Member of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

The objectives of AACAI are:

  1. To encourage the communication of knowledge and promote a spirit of co-operation amongst workers within the field of archaeology;
  2. To support and encourage research into all forms of archaeology, particularly those with relevance to consultancy work within the discipline;
  3. To promote the training of students in archaeology, especially in consulting work, by encouraging consultants to provide such training;
  4. To establish, maintain and encourage adherence to professional standards and ethics by fellow consultants.

AACAI is a national organisation with local chapters in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. The National Executive Committee deals with national issues, including membership applications, AACAI policy and general administration, while State Chapters deal with local matters. AACAI may also provide technical and professional advice, and dispute resolution. It runs an occasional Professional Development Workshop Series. It also publishes a Newsletter, a Recommended Minimum Fee Scale and is preparing an Australian Archaeology Consultancy Monograph Series.

AACAI regularly updates a Register of Consultants for distribution to potential clients. This document:

  1. advertises the availability and expertise of Full Members;
  2. lists basic details of Associate Members and Affiliate Members;
  3. and provides to potential clients (e.g. private and government planners and developers) a list of persons qualified to undertake archaeological work on their behalf.

AACAI advises all members who are engaged in their own consultancies to carry Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurances. Those who employ assistants at any time are legally obliged to maintain a Worker's Compensation Insurance policy. Full Members are required to join AACAI's Professional Indemnity Scheme held with a leading insurance company (at a favourable rate), unless they already have separate equivalent cover.

Membership Levels

There are three categories of membership within the Association. These are:

  1. Full Members - these individuals are fully qualified and experienced consultants usually with a broad range of research and management skills. Full Members often act as senior heritage project managers. They have demonstrated ability and have been through an accreditation process in the organisation. Areas of expertise include site survey and recording, excavation, analysis and interpretation and, importantly, the assessment of site significance. Full Members may use the title MAACAI as a professional qualification;
  2. Associate Members - Associates are usually earlier career members who hold appropriate qualifications in archaeology and who are still increasing their levels of work experience and management skills;
  3. Affiliate Members - are professionals who are not currently practising consultants but who, through their professional occupation as academics or in the public sector, maintain links with the Association.

Benefits of Membership

The National Executive Committee (NEC) oversees issues of wide-ranging importance for consultants, clients and the community. The Membership and Publications Committees answer to the NEC. State Chapters of AACAI deal with specific issues relating to practice in different parts of Australia with different jurisdictions and heritage organisational structures. The Chapters hold specialist workshops, seminar series and act as the first contact point for consultants.

Workshops are organised on specialised topics that assist in the professional development of consultants and which help to inform them on issues that affect their work, such as changes to legislation. Recent workshops include the analysis and management of spatial data (GIS applications) and the implications of the GST on business practice and accountability.

AACAI produces a newsletter, which keeps the members and subscribers up-to-date with a cross-section of archaeological issues in Australia and overseas. Each Newsletter includes updates on workshops and lectures of interest to consultants.

The Register of Consultants lists all Members. For Full Members, the Register lists contact details, academic qualifications, general fields of work (as ratified by the Membership Committee), special fields of expertise, specialist studies and consulting experience. The Register provides summary contact details, expertise and availability of Associate Members and lists all Affiliate Members.

This website lists all financial Full Members’ details as well as all policy documents.

AACAI can serve to lobby collectively on issues deemed to be of interest to its professional membership, such as amendments to heritage legislation. AACAI also has formal ties with other archaeological organisations, such as the Australian Archaeological Association Inc.


AACAI is committed to encouraging professionalism and excellence in archaeological consultancy. To this end, AACAI established The Laila Haglund Prize for Excellence in Consultancy in 2001 to recognise outstanding contribution to consultancy in Australia. The prize is awarded for the paper presented at the Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference that makes the best contribution to consultancy in Australia. The award has been named after Laila Haglund in recognition of her considerable and ongoing contribution to AACAI and professional archaeology in Australia.