Compiled by the AAPA Ethics Committee, updated March 2015

Key Resources for Biological Anthropology

  • Turner, TR  (2014) Large scale collections of biological materials and ethical first principles.  Curator 57(2): 259-267
  • MacClancy, J and Fuentes, A, editors (2013) Ethics in the Field: Contemporary Challenges. New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Turner, TR (2012) Ethical issues in human population biology. Current Anthropology 53(S5): S222-232.
  • Riley, EP and MacKinnon, KC, editors (2010) Special section on Ethical Issues in Field Primatology. American Journal of Primatology 72(9): 749-793.
  • Turner, TR, editor (2004) Biological Anthropology and Ethics: From Repatriation to Genetic Identity. Albany: SUNY Press.

Book’s publisher page:

Foundational, Historical Documents

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Nuremberg Code, 1949

Declaration of Helsinki, 1964 and subsequently amended (most recently 2013)

Belmont Report, 1979

U.S. Animal Welfare Act, 1966 (plus all amendments through 2008)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act, 1973

Selected International Documents

For the 10 Core International Human Rights documents, see:

Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, 2005

International Declaration on Human Genetic Data, 2003

Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, 1997

Selection of Other Anthropological (or related fields) Organizations’ Codes of Ethics and Guiding Statements

American Anthropological Association (AAA) Ethics Code, revised 2012

Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) Code of Ethics, revised 1997

American Alliance of Museums, Code of Ethics for Museums, revised 2000

American Psychological Association, Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals, updated February 2014

Animal Behavior Society. 1991.

  • Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research, Animal Behavior 41: 183–86.

American Society of Primatologists (ASP) and International Primatological Society (IPS) Best Practices in Field Primatology, co-approved 2014

American Society of Primatologists (ASP) Principles for the Ethical Treatment of Non-Human Primates, approved 2001

British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology, Code of Ethics and Code of Practice

 International Council of Museums, Code of Ethics, revised 2004

International Primatological Society (IPS) Guidelines for the Use of Nonhuman Primates in Research

International Primatological Society (IP)S Guidelines for the Acquisition, Care, and Breeding of Nonhuman Primates, revised 2007

 National Academy of Sciences. 1995.

  • On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: National Academy Press (2121 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20418).

Society of American Archaeology Ethics Code, adopted 1996

 World Archaeological Congress Code of Ethics, adopted 1990

Other Useful Resources

Ethics Resources from the AAA

 American Association of University Professors, Resources on Professional Ethics

Animal Ethics Infolink on collecting voucher specimens

 Bioethics resources from the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State University

Helpful Articles/Books to Get Started

Clancy, K.B.H., Nelson, R.G., Rutherford, J.R., Hinde, K., “Survey of academic field experiences (SAFE): Trainees report harassment and assault”, PLOS One 9(7):

Nancy Tuana, "Conceptualizing moral literacy", Journal of Educational Administration, 2007; 45(4): 364-378.

  • Tuana provides the fundamental elements of moral literacy (ethics sensitivity, ethical reasoning skills, and moral imagination) and breaks down essential components of each.

Scheinke et al., The Role of the NSF Broader Impacts Criterion in Enhancing Research Ethics Pedagogy, Social Epistemology 2008; 23(3): 317-336. DOI 10.1080/02691720903364282. Available at

  • Scheinke and colleagues propose a three-prong approach to the ethical dimensions in scientific research (EDSR) model: procedural ethics, intrinsic ethics, and extrinsic ethics.

Arthur Kleinman, Anthropology of Bioethics. In Writing at the Margin: Discourse between Anthropology and Medicine. 1997, California University Press. DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520209657.001.0001

Daniel Wickler and Dan W. Brock, Population-Level Bioethics: Mapping a New Agenda. In Ronald Michael Green, Aine Donovan & Steven A. Jauss (eds.), Global Bioethics: Issues of Conscience for the Twenty-First Century. Oxford University Press (2008)

Paul Farmer and Nicole Gastineau Campos, Rethinking Medical Ethics: A View From Below.  Dev World Bioeth. 2004 May;4(1):17-41.

Beauchamp and Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 7th Ed., Oxford UP. ISBN 0195335708

Embedding Ethics, Edited by Lynn Meskell and Peter Pels. Berg Publishers. 2005.

Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy 2nd Edition by Lori B. Andrews, Maxwell J Mehlman, and Mark A Rothstein (American Casebook Series by Thomas West)  ISBN 0-314-16293-3.

  • Art and Cultural Heritage: Law, Policy and Practice edited by Barbara T. Hoffman, ISBN-10 0-521-85764-3, ISBN-13 978-0-521-85764-2

Cultural Heritage Ethics. Constantine Sandis. Open Book Publishers, 2014.

Canada Panel on Research Ethics:  "TCPS 2 (2014) - Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans”.  See

Selected Statutes

  • Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 (ASA),
    • 43 U.S.C. § 2101 et. seq.
  • Antiquities Act of 1906,
    • 16 U.S.C. § 431 et. seq.
  • National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA),
    • 16 U.S.C. § 470 et. seq.
  • Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA),
    • 16 U.S.C. § 470aa et. seq.
  • Native Americans Grave Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA),
    • 25 U.S.C. § 3001 et. seq.
  • National Stolen Property Act   (NSPA)
    • 18 U.S.C. § 2314 et. seq.
  • Animal Welfare Act (AWA)
    •    7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA)
    •   16 U.S.C. §1531 et seq.


Copyright © 2019 American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
Site programming and administration: Ed Hagen, Department of Anthropology, Washington State University