AACAI

Australian Association Of Consulting Archaeologists Inc

Application Guide For Prospective Members

Below is all the information prospective members will need to apply for membership of AACAI.
If you have a query about applying for AACAI membership that is not answered somewhere below, please don’t hesitate to contact the Membership Secretary via the online contact form

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

Decide what type of membership you want to apply for (see the question at the end of this page on the different types of membership) and click on the application hyperlink under the relevant type of membership.

Before you start the online application form you should have the documents relevant to the type of membership for which you are applying (such as your letters of support, examples of your reports, your CV, your qualification etc) ready to upload as PDFs. You will also need to upload evidence of your payment of the application fee.

If all of your documentation is in order, your application will be forwarded to the Membership Secretary for processing. The Membership Secretary will inform you when the assessment process has commenced and give you an approximate time frame in which to expect an outcome.

How is my application assessed and who assesses it?

Applications for membership are considered by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of AACAI, after assessment by the Membership Committee. The Membership Committee consists of 7 elected members who may be Full Members or Affiliates and who have been Full Members within the 5 years preceding their election. From time to time, other Full Members may also be asked to assist the Membership Committee with the task of assessing membership applications.

Four people from the Membership Committee will assess your application. The assessors chosen for your application will be determined by the Membership Secretary, based on such factors as the state in which you undertake the majority of your work, and/or the current assessment workload of the Membership Committee members.

In the case that consensus is not reached by the assessors, several things might happen depending on the particular circumstances:

Once consensus has been reached by the assessors, their recommendation is then passed on to the NEC (via email) for ratification by a majority.

Applicants are informed of the result of their applications following ratification by the NEC. Applicants who are offered membership become members as soon as the appropriate Membership Fees are received.

How much is the Application Fee?

The application fee is $50, regardless of what category of membership you are applying for.

How much is the Annual Membership Fee?

The Annual Membership Fee varies depending on what level of membership you are offered. The current fees are:

How do I pay my Application Fee?

There are two ways you can pay your fee:

  1. by an electronic funds transfer (EFT) from your bank account to AACAIs (this is the preferred method), or
  2. through a cheque.

For EFT transfer please use your surname as the reference and make your payment to the following account:

For payment by cheque, please make the cheque payable to AACAI and post it to:

Should I pay both my Application and Annual Membership Fee upfront?

No. When you submit your application you should only pay the Application Fee. You should not pay the Annual Membership Fee until you are offered membership.

Can I get an invoice?

Yes, The AACAI Secretariat (Cindy Shadiack) can provide you with an invoice for your application and membership fees upon request.

How long will the application process take?

Membership Committee members are typically given 2-3 weeks (for Affiliate or Associate applications) or 4-6 weeks (for Full applications) to complete their assessments (the exact time frame takes into account holiday periods, and also depending on how many other applications are under review at any one time).

As such, you can usually expect an outcome in 6-8 weeks, though sometimes it will be quicker than that and sometimes a little longer.

Do I need to submit a cover letter with my application?

No. The information required by the assessors should be included in the Full CV that you submit as part of your application, and possibly also touched on by your referees in their support letters.

What reports should I submit to support my application?

Reports are the main source of evidence for assessing your application. As such they need to include evidence of your competencies. Ultimately the reports that you choose to submit should demonstrate to the assessors that you are competent in:

7.5.1      survey, identification and recording of sites;

7.5.2      site assessment and evaluation;

7.5.3      recommendations concerning the management of sites;

7.5.4      report preparation and production;

7.5.5      client-consultant relations;

7.5.6      consultant-determining authority relations;

7.5.7      where relevant, community liaison and consultation, and documentary and oral research.

So you should choose reports that demonstrate these aspects of your work.

How long should the reports I submit to support my application be?

Assessors, like you, are generally busy people. Obviously, assessors don’t like being too bogged down with reports that are 100,000 words or more long; however, having said that, it’s also no use for them to read through short reports where nothing has been found and therefore cannot demonstrate competence in the specified areas such as recording of sites, site assessment and recommendations.

You should aim to submit reports that hit the mark without going overboard.

We’ll let you know if what you submit isn’t adequate, so don’t worry that you’ll submit the wrong reports. If the assessors find your reports lacking sufficient information for them to make an informed decision, we’ll generally ask if you have another report that you can send to addresses the particular concerns they have, rather than rejecting your application outright.

I don’t have any sole authored reports to submit – can I still apply?

Yes. Simply submit co-authored reports and include a statement in the “other supporting information” section of the application that sets out clearly what sections of what report(s) you were responsible for writing.

Can I submit co-authored reports to support my application?

Yes. Again, simply include a statement in the “other supporting information” section of the application that sets out clearly what sections of what report(s) you were responsible for writing.

Can I submit a report in a language other than English?

Unfortunately the Membership Committee does not have the ability to assess reports in languages other than English, so the answer to this question is no.

What are special skills?

Special skills could be in the areas of (but not necessarily limited to): contact archaeology; maritime archaeology; stone artefact analysis; phytolith analysis; palynology; macrobotanical analysis; faunal analysis; isotope analysis; historical artefact analysis; excavation (i.e. not test pitting); GIS analysis (not just making maps); public interpretation (preparing site interpretation for permanent display); rock art recording and/or analysis; pXRF analysis; micromorphology.

Note that stone artefact identification, impact assessment, test-pitting, interpretation and desktop research are not considered to be specialist skills, but rather core skills.

I have written a thesis in a particular area – do I need to submit a copy of my thesis for it to be recognised for special skills in that area?

No. An applicant’s expertise in the area of their PhD and research masters thesis topic will be automatically recognised, rather than by the applicant having to provide the Membership Committee with a copy of their thesis for consideration. This is in acknowledgement that the thesis in question has been assessed and found to be competent by appropriate experts through the examination process of the conferring university and thus it is superfluous for the Membership Committee to read the thesis to determine whether it demonstrates competency in the specialist area.

In the supporting documentation the applicant should simply include a statement noting that they’d also like recognition for their special skills in whatever the area is, explicitly telling us the following:

Make sure you note in the relevant section of the online form the special skills for which you are seeking recognition. Then, should your application be approved, you will automatically be recognised for those special skills.

In the case of Honours or coursework Masters theses an applicant can also apply to have those skills recognised by the Membership Committee; however, that will be done on a case-by-case basis rather than being recognised automatically.

Can I apply for Full Membership without having first been an Associate Member?

Yes. And if for some reason the Membership Committee determines that you do not meet the criteria to be offered Full Membership, providing you meet the Associate Membership criteria, you will automatically be offered that without needing to pay another application fee or to submit another application.

Who should I ask to be my referees?

If you are applying for Full Membership, at least one of your referees must be a Full Member of AACAI. It is ideal if both of them are (as they are fully cognisant of the requirements for full membership), but we understand that this is not always possible.

If you are applying for Associate Membership, both your referees should be “professional archaeologists” This means they could be Associate or Full AACAI members, but it also allows for non-AACAI members who are working as archaeologists (such as a university lecturer) to be your referee.

If you are applying for Affiliate Membership, your referee must be a Full Member of AACAI.

To avoid questions being raised about the objectivity of your referees, they should not both work for the company for which you are currently working. However, we recognise that sometimes this is not possible. If in doubt, contact the Membership Secretary to discuss the suitability of your referees in advance.

Your referee(s) should be someone who is familiar with your work, is of good standing in the discipline and who can speak specifically about your level of competency.

What should my referee letters of support say?

Your referees support letter must comment on your competence in the following areas:

7.5.1      survey, identification and recording of sites;

7.5.2      site assessment and evaluation;

7.5.3      recommendations concerning the management of sites;

7.5.4      report preparation and production;

7.5.5      client-consultant relations;

7.5.6      consultant-determining authority relations;

7.5.7      where relevant, community liaison and consultation, and documentary and oral research.

Will you contact my referees?

Not usually. However, we may do for clarification if there is concern over some aspect of your application, so please ensure they have included their current contact details in their letter of support.

I obtained my qualification(s) overseas – can I still apply for AACAI membership?

Yes.

What are the different membership categories and what are the requirements to apply for each?

There are different requirements for each membership category. These are set out below.

Full Members

Full Members are archaeologists who are competent to work as independent, professional consulting archaeologists.

Full Members are entitled to quote membership of AACAI as a professional qualification in the form “MAACAI”.

Full Members and are included in the Register of Full Members.

Annual subscription is $180.

TO QUALIFY AS A FULL MEMBER: Each applicant for full membership shall:

  1. have an honours degree or postgraduate degree in archaeology or other field of scholarship accepted by the Membership Committee or have such experience in the field of consulting archaeology as is considered sufficient by the Committee for admission as a full member;
  2. have the equivalent of two years full time experience in the field of consulting archaeology in Australia;
  3. be supported by references from 2 archaeologists (one of whom must be a Full Member of the Association or in exceptional circumstances another person agreed to by the Membership Committee) each stating that in his or her opinion the applicant is competent in the field of consulting archaeology and setting out the grounds for that belief;
  4. have demonstrated an ability to conduct archaeological consultancies on his or her own;
  5. have demonstrated competence in:
    1. survey, identification and recording of sites;
    2. site assessment and evaluation;
    3. recommendations concerning the management of sites;
    4. report preparation and production;
    5. client-consultant relations;
    6. consultant-determining authority relations; and where relevant
    7. relevant community liaison and consultation and documentary and oral research.

Applicants must provide at least two recent reports for review by the Membership Committee. Items in (e) above are core skills and must be demonstrated in at least one of the reports submitted.

Claims for additional expertise, such as excavation or rock art recording, must also be demonstrated, in additional reports if necessary

If reports with joint authorship are submitted then it must be clear which sections the applicant has completed.

Click here to apply for Full Membership

Associate Members

Associate Members generally have less experience or are less qualified than Full Members.

They are available to assist in consulting work and/or may undertake independent consultancies appropriate to their experience or expertise.

This category includes recent graduates with little or no experience in consulting work, to those with considerable expertise.

Annual subscription is $100.

ASSOCIATE MEMBER: Each applicant for associate membership shall:

  1. have an honours degree or postgraduate degree in archaeology or other field of scholarship accepted by the Membership Committee or have such experience in the field of consulting archaeology as is considered sufficient by the Membership Committee for admission as an Associate Member;
  2. intend to seek at least part-time employment in the field of consulting archaeology;
  3. be supported by references from 2 professional archaeologists each stating that in his or her opinion the applicant is competent in archaeological procedures relevant to the application and setting out the grounds for that belief; and
  4. be able to work as a supervised or unsupervised field or research assistant and may undertake sub-consultancies or consultancies where he or she has appropriate levels of skill and training.

In the absence of an Honours or Postgraduate degree in archaeology, acceptable equivalent qualifications and/or experience must include a substantive piece of independent work in the field of archaeology, demonstrating knowledge of both the theory and practice specific to the discipline. Such a work could be published or unpublished, for example a major article or chapter in a refereed journal or book, the major essay required for some postgraduate diplomas in archaeology, or a consulting report.

An Associate Member may apply for Full Membership after one year of Associate membership. Such application must comply with the criteria outlined for Full Members above.

The Association expects Associate Members to apply for Full Membership after five years of full-time consultancy activity (or equivalent).

If Associate Members have not applied for Full Membership within 5 years, they must demonstrate to the NEC why they should continue as an Associate Member.

Click here to apply for Associate Membership

Affiliate Members

Affiliate Members are persons professionally involved in archaeology who have a special interest in contract archaeology and its interaction with the wider discipline.

Affiliates are entitled to quote membership of the Association as a professional qualification in the form “AACAI (Affiliate)”.

Annual subscription is $80.

AFFILIATE MEMBER: Each applicant for affiliate membership shall:

  1. have an honours degree or postgraduate degree in prehistory, historical archaeology or other field of scholarship accepted by the Membership Committee or such experience as is considered sufficient by the Membership Committee for admission as an Affiliate Member;
  2. have the equivalent of 2 years full-time employment in archaeology or other experience in the field of archaeology (with demonstrated interest in consulting archaeology) as is considered sufficient by the Membership Committee for admission as an affiliate member; and
  3. be supported by a recommendation from a full member of the Association.

Click here to apply for Affiliate Membership

A Final Note on Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurances

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 Workers Compensation policy.