The SCA, its current leadership, and its “old-timers” started the organization as a “Young Turks” insurgency in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the effort was very much a part of the movements promoting training in New Archaeology and Salvage Archaeology (CRM) on college campuses. Historically, the SCA and its student representatives were heavily involved in local and statewide grassroots politics that ultimately brought about the CRM system we know today. In addition, the SCA and its student representatives have a long history of being instrumental in bringing about a change in the culture of archaeology, and such common dimensions of the scientific enterprise in California today as women’s power and central leadership role and the essential partnerships we practice with descendent communities in archaeological undertakings can be traced to SCA student action.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, students had an increasingly diminished role in the organization as the insurgency aged, took on career positions, had families, and set down the banners. However, this is starting to change, and student membership, which reached an historic low of just 7 percent in 1998, has grown rapidly and now rests at 23 percent (n=253), not just a significant voting block but a group ready and willing to steer the organization and the practice of archaeology in the state of California.