History of the SCA Bylaws

The original version of the Bylaws, known then as the Constitution and Bylaws, was adopted by the Society at the time of its founding in 1967. They were extensively revised in April, 1967. Article XIV, the Code of Ethical Guidelines, was adopted by the Executive Board in November, 1978 and by the membership in April, 1979. A vote to delete Section 3 of Article IV was held in September, 1981, and the proposed deletion was defeated. A revision to Article IV, Section 5 of the Bylaws stipulating that individuals presenting papers at the Annual Meetings must be members of the Society were reviewed and recommended by the Executive Board in November 1989 and adopted by the membership in 1990. Two amendments to Article XII were approved by a vote of the membership in 1992. In 1999 the Executive Board proposed to amend the Bylaws to extend the one-year terms of office of Northern and Southern Vice Presidents and Secretary to two years to take advantage of cumulative knowledge gained by those holding these positions. The amendment to Article VI, Section 4 approved by a vote of the membership in January, 2000. An amendment to Article XVI, Section 1, adding items 1.1 h and 1.2 g was approved by a vote of the membership in January, 2004.

SCA Bylaws

Article I: Name

The name of this organization shall be the Society for California Archaeology.

Article II: Objectives

The Society for California Archaeology shall be a scientific and educational organization with two basic purposes.

One purpose of the Society shall be to facilitate the coordination and cooperation among archaeologists in California: (1) to stimulate scientific research in the archaeology of California, (2) to promote and maintain standards and goals for archaeology in California, (3) to encourage the development and use of new techniques for the better recovery, interpretation, and preservation of archaeological remains, (4) to conduct symposia and meetings for the presentation of archaeological matters, and (5) to publish and disseminate information on archaeological research in California. The other purpose of the Society shall be to facilitate efforts between archaeologists and all citizens of California: (6) to stimulate greater public interest in and public understanding of the techniques and goals of archaeology in California, (7) to disseminate educational information to the public about archaeology, (8) to encourage and assist in the conservation of archaeological remains for future research and public knowledge, (9) to discourage and curtail the destructive exploitation in California of archaeological resources, and (10) to increase public appreciation and support for scientific archaeology in California.

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Article III: Recognition

Under the laws of the State of California, the Society shall function as a nonprofit Corporation, serving the State of California within the bounds of the Objectives (Article II). Neither recognition by the State nor the avowed purpose of the Society shall require a financial commitment by either agency.

Any and all property owned or hereafter acquired by this corporation shall irrevocably be dedicated to specific and primary purposes only as in these Articles set forth, and upon any liquidation, dissolution or abandonment of this corporation, shall not inure to the benefit of any private person or non-charitable organization, but shall be distributed to the Society for American Archaeology, if it then be in existence and an exempt organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, otherwise to corporations or associations organized and operated solely for religious, hospital, scientific or charitable purposes, in accordance with the provisions of the laws of the State of California, providing such organizations also qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

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Article IV: Membership
Section 1.Membership in the Society shall be open to all individuals and institutions who support the objectives of the Society and the Code of Ethical Guidelines established in the Bylaws of the Society. A special category of membership may be established for seniors, spouses, contributing, lifetime members, and enrolled students. Application for Membership in the Society shall be submitted to the Treasurer or Business Office Manager with payment of annual dues. No Member may transfer a membership or any right arising there from. All rights of membership cease upon the Member’s death.
Section 2.Members only shall have the privilege and responsibility of holding office, of nominating and electing the Officers of the Society, of voting on the business of the Society, and of all other benefits provided Members.
Section 3.Members in the Society shall affirm and adhere to the Code of Ethical Guidelines established in the Bylaws of the Society. A Member or a prospective Member whose acts are contrary to the Objectives of the Society or the Code of Ethical Guidelines established in the Bylaws of the Society may be expelled or excluded from Membership by a three-quarters vote of the Executive Board, but only after the Member has been given 15 days prior notice of the pending action together with the reasons therefore, and has been given the opportunity to be heard, orally or in writing, by the Executive Board at least five days before the effective date of expulsion.
Section 4.The Treasurer shall solicit and collect all dues and shall maintain the rolls of all Members in good standing. The records of names and addresses of Members shall not be used, in whole or in part, by any person for any purpose not related to a member’s interest as a Member. Members have the right to inspect and copy the record of all Members’ names and addresses, at reasonable times and at reasonable charge, upon five business days’ prior written demand to the Society, which demand shall state the purpose for which the inspections rights are requested.
Section 5.Only individual Members shall have the privilege of presenting papers at the Society’s Annual Meeting. However, a symposium chairperson may invite nonmembers to present papers.
Section 6.A Member of the Society is not, as such, personally liable for the debts, liabilities, or obligations of the Society.

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Article V: Dues

The annual dues for Members in the Society shall be fixed by action of the Society or the Executive Board.

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Article VI: Officers and Their Duties
Section 1.The Officers of the Society shall be a President, a President-Elect, two Vice-Presidents, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and the Immediate Past President. Officers shall serve without compensation. Officers may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in attending Executive Board meetings, except for those held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.
Section 2.The President-Elect shall be elected and shall serve for a term of one year; he or she shall then assume the office of President for a term of one year; he or she shall thereafter assume the office of Immediate Past President for a term of one year. Should there be a vacancy in the office of the President, it shall be filled during the President’s own term by the President-Elect who will thereafter assume the office of the President for his own term of one year, unless the President and Executive Board choose to hold a special election to select a new President-Elect.
Section 3.The Southern Vice-President shall be a Member who resides in the counties of San Luis Obispo, Kern or San Bernardino , or other counties to the south; the Northern Vice-President shall be a Member who resides in the counties of Monterey , Kings, Tulare , or Inyo, or in other counties to the north. The Vice-President who receives the higher number of votes in election shall be designated the First Vice-President while the Vice-President elected from the other portion of the state shall be designated the Second Vice-President. Should there be vacancies in both the office of the President and President-Elect, the First Vice-President shall be next in line of succession to the President, followed by the Second Vice-President.
Section 4.The Officers shall be elected by the Society according to the provisions of these Bylaws. The term of office of all Officers shall begin with their installation at the closing of the Society’s Annual Meeting. Two year terms of office of the Northern Vice-President and the Secretary shall begin in even calendar years and two year terms of office of the Southern Vice-President and the Treasurer shall begin in odd calendar years.
Section 5.A vacancy in any office, except that of the President-Elect, may be filled by appointment from the President for the unexpired term. Such appointments are subject to the approval of the remaining members of the Executive Board.
Section 6.The President shall preside at all meetings of the Society and of the Executive Board. The President shall exercise general supervision over the affairs of the Society and shall enforce the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws, with discretionary power and authority in all cases not specifically provided for therein. The President shall make certain that all orders and resolutions of the Society are implemented. The President and either the Secretary or the Treasurer shall sign all contracts authorized by the Society for the Executive Board. With the assistance of the Treasurer, the President shall prepare a budget following the Annual Meeting, subject to the approval of the Executive Board.
Section 7.The President shall appoint such Committee chairs as are required by these Bylaws, or as the President may deem advisable, and shall confirm the appointment of their members by committee chairs with the approval of the Executive Board. Except for the Nomination Committee, such Committees shall report to the President and advise the President on actions to be executed by the Executive Board and the Society. The life and term of Committees established by the President and all Presidential appointments to such Committees shall terminate with the termination of the incumbency of the appointing President.
Section 8.The President-Elect shall assist the President and shall perform the duties of the President in the event of the President’s absence or incapacity.
Section 9.The Immediate Past President shall assist the President and the Executive Board.
Section 10.The Vice-Presidents shall facilitate cooperation among members and coordinate programs of the Society in their respective northern and southern regions. The First Vice-President and the Second Vice-President, in order, shall perform the duties of the President in the event of the absence or incapacity of both the President and the President-Elect.
Section 11.The Secretary shall prepare accurate minutes of the Annual Business Meeting of the Society and all meetings of the Executive Board, and shall have appropriate excerpts published in the Society’s Newsletter. With the President, the Secretary may sign any contracts authorized by the Society for the Executive Board.
Section 12.The Treasurer shall be responsible for the administration of all finances of the Society. The Treasurer shall be authorized to advance from the Society’s accounts amounts necessary for approved budgetary expenditures. The Treasurer shall solicit and collect all Members’ dues and shall maintain in the principal office of the Society the rolls of Members in good standing in the Society. The Treasurer may delegate to or enlist the assistance of the Society’s Business Office Manager in carrying out these duties. The Treasurer will assist the President in preparing a budget. The Treasurer shall report upon the finances of the Society at the Annual Business Meeting. Not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year, the Treasurer shall prepare and have published in the Newsletter an Annual Report which shall contain all of the following information: a) The assets and liabilities, including the trust funds, of the corporation as of the end of the fiscal year; b) The principal changes in assets and liabilities, including trust funds, during the fiscal year; c) The revenue or receipts of the corporation, both unrestricted and restricted to particular purposes, for the fiscal year; d) The expenses or disbursements of the corporation, for both general and restricted purposes, for the fiscal year; and e) Any indemnification of Officers paid during the fiscal year. With the President, the Treasurer may sign any contracts authorized by the Society for the Executive Board. The Treasurer shall be deemed to be the Chief Financial Officer as required by law.
Section 13.An officer may be removed from office by the affirmative vote of a simple majority of those Members voting by mail ballot. Such a vote shall be conducted as soon as practicable following receipt by the President or Secretary of a resolution approved by two-thirds vote of the Executive Board, or a petition signed by five percent of the Members requesting the vote.
Section 14. The Treasurer term of office includes a third one year term in and becomes the Immediate Past Treasurer to assist in the duties of the Treasurer and record keeping.  Therefore, the Immediate Past Treasurer will overlap one year with the Treasurer.  Only the Treasurer will maintain the right to vote at Executive Board meetings.


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Article VII: Business Office Manager
Section 1.The Business Office Manager shall assist the Executive Board in collecting dues, maintaining Membership lists, conducting elections, keeping official records of the Society, preparing correspondence, and other duties (if agreed to) that may be assigned by the Executive Board or the President.
Section 2.The Business Office Manager shall be appointed by the Executive Board. Salary and reimbursement for this position shall be determined by the Executive Board.

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Article VIII: Nominations, Voting, and Elections
Section 1.At least six months before each Annual Meeting of the Society, the President shall appoint at least three Members to form a Nomination Committee. The duties of this Committee shall include the securing of nominations of Members as candidates for the elected positions of Officers of the Society, the preparation of the election ballot master, and the submission of the ballot master to the Business Office at least six weeks prior to the Annual Meeting for duplication and distribution to the Membership. A member may petition to be nominated to any office by delivering to any Officer within 11 months preceding an election a petition signed by at least two percent of the Membership. All nominees’ names shall appear on the ballot master. All nominees shall have a fair and reasonable opportunity to communicate their qualifications and reasons for candidacy by statements sent with election ballots.
Section 2.At least one month before the Annual Meeting of the Society, the Business Office shall send official ballots, by regular mail, to all Members. The official return date shall be fixed as no less than seven days prior to the opening date of the Annual Meeting and shall be plainly marked on the official ballots. Members shall return their ballot before that date in order for their votes to be counted. The Business Office Manager shall tabulate all official votes, including those for write-in candidates, and shall submit the election results to the current President, who shall have them published in the Society’s Newsletter . The candidate receiving a plurality of votes shall be declared elected to each office.
Section 3.In the event that the office of President-Elect becomes vacant, the Executive Board may hold a special election to fill the vacancy in the office of President-Elect, with the Executive Board serving as the Nomination Committee.
Section 4.Each Member in good standing shall be entitled to one vote.

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Article IX: Meetings
Section 1.The Society shall hold an Annual Meeting, including an Annual Business Meeting, each calendar year, the date and place of which shall be fixed by the Society at its prior Annual Meeting. Notice of the time and place of the Annual Meeting shall be published in the Society’s Newsletter at least three months in advance. All matters of business of the Society may be conducted at an Annual Business Meeting. The date, place, and general nature of business to be transacted at the Annual Business Meeting shall be published in the Society’s Newsletter at least 20 days in advance. All actions taken at an Annual Business Meeting by the Society shall have precedent over actions of the Executive Board or of Special Meetings. At Annual Business Meetings of the Society the Members in attendance shall constitute a Quorum.
Section 2.A Special Business Meeting of the Society may be called by the Executive Board upon at least 30 days notice by mail or through the Newsletter to all Members in good standing. For a Special Business Meeting of the Society, 50 Members in attendance shall constitute a Quorum. Notice of such meetings shall specify the general nature of each item to be voted upon by the membership at the meeting. Only an item whose general nature was so specified shall be voted upon at the meeting. Special Business Meetings shall be called by the President upon written request of five percent of the membership.
Section 3.Robert’s Rules of Order (revised) shall govern the proceedings of meetings of the Society insofar as such rules are not inconsistent or in conflict with these Bylaws, with the Articles of Incorporation, or with provisions of the law.

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Article X: Executive Board
Section 1.The Executive Board shall be comprised of the Officers of the Society. The Executive Board when meeting in Quorum shall have the authority to execute on behalf of the Society all powers and functions of the Society, as defined in the Articles of Incorporation and these Bylaws, in the interval between Annual Meetings of the Society. This authority shall be subject to general directives and limitations imposed by the Members at the Annual Business Meetings, at Special Business Meetings, or by Referendum, and by the provisions of the 1980 California Nonprofit Corporation Law.
Section 2.The President or the Secretary may call a meeting of the Executive Board by notifying all Officers at least four days by mail or 48 hours by telephone in advance. The transactions of the Executive Board occurring at any meeting, however called or noticed, or wherever held, shall be as valid as though such meeting were duly held after regular call and notice if a quorum be present and if, either before or after the meeting, each Board member not present and entitled to vote at the meeting for that purpose signs a written waiver of notice, a consent to the holding of such meeting, or an approval of the minutes thereof. All such waivers, consents or approvals shall be filed with the Secretary and made a part of the minutes of the meeting. A Quorum of the Executive Board shall consist of four Officers. If any Officer is unable to attend a meeting he or she may, by written proxy, appoint a Member in his stead; but no person may hold more than one proxy or cast more than one vote. Members of the Executive Board may participate in a meeting through use of a conference telephone or similar equipment, so long as all Board members participating in such meeting can hear one another. Participation in an Executive Board meeting by electronic means constitutes presence in person at such meeting. All Executive Board meetings shall be open to the public, but the Executive Board may convene in closed, executive session upon a majority vote of the Board.
Section 3.Questions shall be decided by the Executive Board by four affirmative votes.
Section 4.The Secretary shall have published in the Society’s Newsletter a report of each meeting and all actions of the Executive Board.
Section 5.The Minutes of the proceedings of the Executive Board and the Society’s Annual Business Meeting shall be open to inspection at the principal office by any Member of the Society.

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Article XI: Referendum
Section 1.A Referendum vote may be held by mail ballot or through the Newsletter at any time upon the initiation of the Executive Board. A Referendum petition must request that the Society take an action that is within the scope of its purposes as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation and is not contrary to law. If a petition is signed by at least five percent of the Members, then the Executive Board shall, at its next meeting, either take the action requested or immediately put the matter to a vote of the Membership as a referendum. Ballots shall be sent, through the Society’s Newsletter or by regular mail, to all Members of the Society in good standing as soon as practicable.
Section 2.In order that mail ballots may be counted as votes, ballots must be placed in the mail by Members and addressed to the Secretary not more than 30 days after the date they were mailed to the Members. A majority of votes received shall constitute the deciding vote. The Secretary shall certify the vote to the Executive Board and shall have the vote published in the Society’s Newsletter.
Section 3.A Referendum vote may initiate any action or rescind such actions not in fact accomplished. A Referendum vote shall have precedent over prior or subsequent actions of the Executive Board and over the action of a Special Meeting, and shall be equivalent to an action taken at an Annual Business Meeting.

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Article XII: Finances
Section 1.Commencing July 1, 2011, the fiscal years of the Society shall be July 1 through June 31.
Section 2.With the assistance of the Treasurer and prior to the Annual Meeting, the President shall prepare a budget for the fiscal year showing estimated incomes and expenses of the Society for the ensuing year. This budget will be presented to the Executive Board for review and approval.
Section 3.Any budget approved and adopted by the Executive Board shall without further action authorize the Treasurer to advance from the Society’s accounts amounts necessary for approved budgetary expenditures. The Treasurer shall make no advancements, and no Officer or Member shall incur any expenses in addition to amounts specified in the adopted budget without the prior approval of the Executive Board.
Section 4.No financial obligation in excess of funds available in the treasury shall be assumed by the Executive Board or by an officer on behalf of the Society except when approved by a two-thirds vote of the Members voting at an Annual Business Meeting or in a Referendum vote; provided that for the purposes of this section, estimated receipts and other accounts receivable for the current year may be considered as funds available.

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Article XIII: Amendments

Amendments to these Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws of the Society may be proposed to the President in a written petition signed by not less than 25 Members. The President, as soon as practicable, by regular mail or through the Society’s Newsletter , shall inform all the Members of the Society in good standing of such amendments. Amendments shall become effective by a two-thirds majority of all mail ballots placed in the mail and addressed to the Secretary not more than 30 days after the date they were mailed to the Members, or by a two-thirds vote of all Members present and voting at any Annual Business Meeting, provided the proposed amendment shall have been submitted to the Members in good standing at least 30 days prior to the meeting.

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Article XIV: Newsletter
Section 1.The Society shall publish a Newsletter . It shall be published at least quarterly. Special editions may be published when the need arises. The Newsletter shall carry the reports of the business of the Society including the Treasurer’s annual report and appropriate excerpts of minutes of Executive Board and Annual Business Meetings, and other information of interest to the Membership. The Newsletter shall be mailed to all Members of the Society in good standing and to subscribers.
Section 2.The Executive Board shall appoint the Editor of the Newsletter , and shall review the editorship of the Newsletter annually.

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Article XV: Proceedings
Section 1.The Society shall publish a Proceedings, which shall include selected papers presented at Annual Meetings. It shall be published annually. It shall be provided to all Regular, Institutional, Contributing, and Lifetime Members, and shall be available to others at a price determined by the Executive Board.
Section 2.The Executive Board shall appoint the Editor of the Proceedings , and shall review the editorial policies and production standards annually. The editor may appoint assistant editors as needed.

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Article XVI: Code of Ethical Guidelines

This document presents the Society for California Archaeology (SCA) Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct. It represents an update and revision of the SCA Code of Ethical Guidelines. The purpose of this document is to provide general principles that guide the conduct of all SCA members and a specific code of conduct by which all SCA members must abide .

This document is not intended to provide standards that guide procedural or methodological practices that are carried out in the performance of archaeological studies. Such standards vary according to regulatory, professional (academic, cultural resources management), avocational, or community guidelines and should be consulted accordingly.

Ethical Principles

Principle No. 1: Stewardship of the Archaeological Record

The archaeological record — defined as in-situ archaeological material and sites, archaeological collections, records and reports — is irreplaceable. All SCA members have a responsibility to work for the long-term conservation and protection of the archaeological record by practicing and promoting stewardship of the archaeological record for the benefit of all people. All SCA members shall support conservation of archaeological resources by recording sites, advocating protection of sites from impending destruction through avoidance, scientific data recovery, or other feasible means.

Principle No. 2: Conduct and Accountability

All SCA members shall treat everyone with dignity and respect, and shall adhere to zero tolerance against all forms of discrimination and harassment.  Members shall not engage in illegal or unethical behavior, but instead shall foster a supportive and safe working environment.  Members shall adopt a preservation ethic and avoid activities that enhance the commercial value of archaeological objects. Members shall respect intellectual property and confidentiality of information from the archaeological record.

Principle No. 3:  Descendant Communities

All SCA members shall commit to meaningful consultation in good faith with descendant communities with the goal of establishing working relationships that can be beneficial to all parties involved.  Members shall respect confidentiality of sensitive information and items of cultural patrimony. Where such information or access to items has been provided, members shall obtain permission prior to sharing in any format and credit the source. 

Principle No. 4: Public Engagement

SCA members have a responsibility to share results of studies with the public in an accessible format within a reasonable timeframe, while maintaining confidentiality of sensitive information, being respectful of the concerns of descendent communities, and maintaining compliance with regulatory statutes and legal agreements.  Members should undertake to: 1) enlist public support for the stewardship of the archaeological record; 2) explain and promote the use of archaeological methods and techniques in understanding human behavior and culture; and 3) communicate archaeological interpretations of the past.

Ethical Code of Conduct

Professional Conduct

  • Give credit to colleagues in written and verbal communications; cite all sources accurately and do not plagiarize.
  • Communicate and cooperate with archaeologists working in the same area of study.
  • Be objective and respectful in peer reviews.
  • Do not discredit others’ work for personal gain or vengeance.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Maintain proficiency regarding professional practices, including regional and site-specific contexts, and be informed about advancements in research questions and methods.
  • Involve appropriate museums and cultural centers in the educational analysis, display, and long-term care of cultural collections.
  • Obtain all necessary permits and permission from land owners/managers prior to conducting field work.

Descendant Communities

  • Conduct meaningful consultation with appropriate representatives of descendant communities on appropriate treatment of sites of religious, ceremonial, or social significance in all phases of archaeological research and resource management.
  • Support the rights of descendant communities to practice their ceremonial traditions at desired locations, as appropriate.
  • Comply with procedures specified in state and federal law regarding the discovery of Native American human remains.

Archaeological Record

  • Do not conduct unwarranted archaeological excavations.
  • Do not engage in or be complicit with illicit export or import and/or sale of cultural property.
  • Do not subvert legal procedures for the preservation of archaeological resources.
  • Prepare a research design and work plan before conducting any archaeological fieldwork.
  • Prepare for curation prior to field investigations.
  • Make arrangements for security at all open excavation sites where vandalism is possible.
  • Do not destroy entire upper cultural strata to expedite the examination of lower levels.
  • Do not collect or excavate archaeological resources for the sole purpose of teaching field techniques.
  • Maintain provenience records and narratives of field work and analysis.
  • Assess site eligibility objectively referencing best available information.
  • Maintain confidentiality of site locations and any other sensitive information.
  • Submit study reports to the appropriate California Historical Resources Information System Regional Information Center in a timely manner.
  • Write excavation summaries within five years of completion of fieldwork.

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SCA Anti-harassment Policy

The SCA is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all members, at all society events. In 2019 the Standards and Ethics Advisory Committee was tasked with developing bylaws amendments to address all types of harassment. The 2020 SCA Executive Board Election included a vote on these proposed bylaws amendments, which the membership overwhelmingly voted to adopt.

The policy and procedures documents include:

  • SCA Meeting Safety Policy and Code of Conduct
  • SCA Code of Ethical Guidelines Bylaws Amendment
  • SCA Ban on Meeting Attendance and Expulsion Bylaws Amendment

Please take the time to review these very important documents and attend the Business Meeting to vote on their implementation. The SCA is committed to having a harassment-free environment at all SCA sponsored events.

SCA Bylaws Amendment 1(Membership section additions, banning, and expulsion)

SCA Bylaws Amendment 2 (Code of Ethics addition, anti-Harassment Bylaws)

SCA Meeting Safety Policy and Code of Conduct

SCA Disclosure Form- Appendix A (Onsite Reporting)

SCA Reporting Form Appendix B (Advance Reporting)