Who we are

© Headland Archaeology

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) is the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas. We:

  • represent the interests of archaeology and archaeologists to government, policy makers and industry
  • set standards for archaeological practice and issues guidelines to support these
  • improve career prospects by promoting professional development and providing training opportunities
  • through our Registered Organisations scheme, improve employment practices and raises standards of work  
  • act as the self-regulating body for the archaeological profession.

You can find out more about these via our advocacy, standards, professional development, Registered Organisations and self-regulating web pages.

History of the Institute

The Institute was created in 1982 as the Institute for Field Archaeologists and became the Institute for Archaeologists in 2006. We achieved a Royal Charter in December 2014. Our Brief History of CIfA (PDF file) gives an overview about why the Institute was established and what it has achieved to date.


The Institute has over 3500 individual members, and around 80 registered organisations. As well as offering professional accreditation for individual or organisations, there are a variety of other benefits of membership to help support archaeologists and help to develop your career or business.

You can find out more via our membership and membership services web pages.


CIfA is a democratic membership organisation and is governed by its Royal Charter and by-laws. The Board of Directors is responsible for managing the affairs of CIfA in accordance with the Charter and by-laws, with the day to day running of CIfA carried out by the staff. The Advisory Council represents the interests of the membership and offer thoughtful and detailed advice to the Board of Directors on policy, strategy and potentially controversial decisions.  

You can find out more via our governance and staff pages.

In October of each year the CIfA holds an AGM. Recent Annual Reports can be found below.

Professional networks and area groups

Our professional networks and area groups provide a forum for discussion and development within the many strands of professional archaeology - from the marine environment to buildings archaeology, forensic archaeologists to geophysicists, and from the new generation through to current experts in graphics archaeology. Our groups help CIfA achieve the ambitious aims set out in our 2010-20 Strategic Plan, which provides the roadmap for our current business plan.

You can find out more via our groups and values and strategies pages.

Professional associations

As a member of the Professional Associations Research Network, CIfA is:

  • Keeping up-to-date with the latest sector research and best practice guidance
  • Equipped through training and events to deal with the challenges professional bodies face
  • Part of an active network of professional bodies that learn from each other


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