The name of this organization shall be the Council of Virginia Archaeologists, Inc. It shall also be known by its acronym, CoVA.

The purposes of CoVA shall be:

To promote the preservation and study of Virginia’s archaeological resources;

To foster public awareness, knowledge, and support for the preservation of Virginia’s archaeological resources;

To facilitate interaction between the communities of professional and avocational archaeologists in Virginia;

To act as an independent professional advisory group for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Section 1. COVA shall be an organization of individuals who are dedicated to the preservation and study of Virginia’s archaeological resources. Membership shall be available in two categories: active and associate.

Section 2. Active membership shall be limited to professional archaeologists who are or have been engaged in preserving, recovering, or interpreting archaeological resources in Virginia, and who meet COVA’s qualification standards. Active membership confers the right to vote in all elections, to hold office, to serve as a committee member, and to receive the Virginia Archaeologist and all other COVA mailings.

Section 3. Qualifications for active membership in COVA consist of a graduate degree in anthropology, archaeology, or a closely related field as well as the following professional experience and expertise:

1. at least one year of accumulated supervisory experience in field and analytical archaeology;
2. demonstrated record of carrying research to completion;
3. competence in archaeological methods and techniques;
4. familiarity with relevant research issues and literature; and
5. demonstrable record of professional research on archaeological resources (such as participation in cultural resource management projects or professionally sponsored research) and archaeological administration or management.

Section 4. Qualifications for active membership in COVA may also consist of a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, archaeology, or closely related field and three years of professional experience and expertise as stated in Section 3.

Section 5. The COVA membership committee may develop operating procedures and guidelines for assessing professional qualifications which are consistent with the qualifications statements in Sections 3 and 4.

Section 6. The procedure for becoming an active member of COVA consists of the following steps:

1. the prospective member indicates an interest in applying for membership by notifying the membership committee chair, who responds by sending a copy of the COVA bylaws;
2. after attending two regular COVA meetings, the prospective member applies by submitting a letter of application and current vitae to the membership committee chair;
3. the membership committee reviews the application and, if the applicant meets the criteria for membership, submits the results of the review, summary of qualifications, and nomination to all active members who signify their approval or disapproval by ballot;
4. returned ballots are tallied by the membership committee chair; membership is denied only when one-third or more of the returned ballots signify disapproval; and
5. the results of the balloting are announced at the next regular meeting.

Section 7. Associate membership is open to any individual with an interest in Virginia archaeology upon request and payment of dues. Associate membership confers the right to receive the Virginia Archaeologist and all other COVA mailings and to attend meetings.

Section 8. Membership is initiated and maintained by payment of dues. Failure to pay dues in accordance with the terms stated in Article VI results in the forfeiture of membership and concomitant loss of the right to vote, hold office, and receive mailings. Membership can be reinstated by payment of dues.

Section 9. By accepting membership in COVA, both active and associate members accept the COVA bylaws, including adherence to the COVA Statement of Ethics and Standards of Performance. Members may be cited for non-compliance with the Statement of Ethics and/or Standards of Performance and are subject to grievance procedures established by the executive board. Membership may be suspended or terminated by the executive board if a members’s actions have been found to violate the COVA Statement of Ethics or the Standards of Performance.

Section 10. The state archaeologist, director of the Department of Historic Resources, and president of the Archeological Society of Virginia shall be ex officio members of COVA.

Section 11. No member shall have the power to incur any debt in COVA’s name without the authorization of the executive board.

Section 12. No individual member shall speak for COVA without the direction of the membership or executive board. Duly elected officers, however, may represent COVA in appropriate circumstances.

Archaeology is a profession, and the privilege of professional practice requires professional morality and responsibility, as well as professional competence, on the part of each practitioner. The Council of Virginia Archaeologists values inclusivity and does not tolerate discrimination or harassment regarding ability, age, ethnicity, gender or gender orientation, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Section 1. A Member’s Responsibility to Archaeological Resources

1. Members shall:

  1. actively support conservation of the archaeological resource base; and
  2. know and comply with all laws and regulations applicable to her/his archaeological research.

2. Members shall not:

  1. undertake any activity that affects the archaeological resource bases for which she/he is unqualified;
  2. buy, sell, or exchange archaeological artifacts; or
  3. engage in any activities that violate the UNESCO Convention prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property, as adopted by the General Conference, 14 November, 1970, Paris.

Section 2. A Member’s Responsibility to the Public

1. Members shall:

  1. represent archaeology and its results to the general public in a responsible, understandable, informative, and timely manner;
  2. be sensitive to and respect legitimate concerns of groups whose culture histories are the subjects of archaeological, anthropological, or historical study;
  3. be sensitive to and respect the legitimate interests of avocational archaeologists and make all reasonable attempts to encourage their participation in archaeological projects; and
  4. avoid exaggerated, misleading, or unwarranted statements which might encourage others to engage in unethical or illegal archaeological activity.

2. Members shall not:

  1. engage in any illegal/unethical conduct related to archaeological matters or knowingly permit the use of her/his name in support of such conduct;
  2. give a professional opinion, make a public report, or give legal testimony on any archaeological matter for which she/he has no expertise; or
  3. engage in dishonest, fraudulent, deceitful or misleading conduct regarding archaeological matters.

Section 3. A Member’s Responsibility to Peers

1. Members shall:

  1. give appropriate credit for work done by others;
  2. communicate, cooperate with, and give due respect to other professional or avocational archaeologists who have interests in, and rights to, information about sites, areas, collections, or other archaeological matters;
  3. stay informed and knowledgeable about developments in her/his area(s) of specialization; and
  4. accurately and promptly prepare and properly distribute reports of work done.

2. Members shall not:

  1. falsely or maliciously attempt to injure the reputation of a professional or avocational colleague;
  2. plagiarize any oral or written communication;
  3. except in emergency ("rescue" or salvage) situations, engage in any activity that affects the archaeological resource base without producing an analysis and report within a reasonable period; or
  4. refuse any reasonable request from a qualified colleague for research data.

Section 4. A Member’s Responsibility to Employers and Clients

1. Members shall:

  1. respect the interests of her/his employer or client, so far as is consistent with the public welfare and the Statement of Ethics;
  2. refuse to comply with any request or demand of an employer or client which conflicts with this Statement of Ethics;
  3. recommend to employers or clients the employment of other expert consultants when faced with archaeological or related problems beyond her/his own competence; and
  4. exercise reasonable care to prevent her/his employees, colleagues, associates, and others whose services are utilized from revealing or using confidential information. Confidential information is here defined as non-archaeological information gained in the course of employment which the employer or client has requested to be held confidential or the disclosure of which would be detrimental or embarrassing to the employer or client. Information ceases to be confidential when the employer or client so indicates or when such information becomes publicly known.

2. Members shall not:

  1. reveal confidential information, unless required by law;
  2. use confidential information for the advantage of herself/himself or a third person or to the disadvantage of an employer or client;
  3. accept compensation or anything of value for recommending the employment of another archaeologist or other person, unless such compensation is fully disclosed to the potential employer or client; or
  4. recommend or participate in any research which does not comply with the requirements of the Standards of Performance.

The archaeologist has a responsibility to attempt to plan and conduct projects that will add to our understanding of past cultures and/or that develop better theories, methods, or techniques for interpreting the archaeological record, while causing minimal loss of the archaeological resource base. In the conduct of an archaeological project, the following minimum standards shall be followed.

Section 1. A member has a responsibility to prepare adequately for any archaeological project, whether or not in the field. She/he shall:

  1. evaluate the adequacy of her/his qualifications for the demands of the project and minimize the inadequacies by acquiring additional expertise, by bringing in associates with the necessary expertise, or by changing the scope of the project;
  2. examine all relevant work done previously;
  3. develop a systematic project plan in advance which clearly states the project’s objective, takes into account previous relevant research, employs appropriate methods, projects a reasonable time schedule, and provides for economical use of the resource base (whether excavation site or artifact collection) consistent with project objectives;
  4. ensure the availability of adequate staff, equipment, and facilities to complete the project and to provide adequate curation and storage of resulting specimens and records;
  5. comply with all legal requirements, including, without limitation, obtaining all necessary governmental permits and permissions from landowners and others; and
  6. ensure that the project does not interfere with the projects of other researchers.

Section 2. A member should follow her/his project plan, except to the extent that unforeseen circumstances or changing needs require changes to the plan.

Section 3. Procedures for field survey or archaeological excavation shall meet the following minimum standards:

  1. an easily understandable system for identifying and recording provenience information shall be established and maintained;
  2. uncollected material such as environmental or cultural features, depositional sequences, and the like, shall be fully, accurately, and appropriately recorded and mapped;
  3. the methods employed in data collection shall be fully and accurately described in a permanent record, and significant specimens, cultural and environmental features, and where appropriate, documentary data, shall be fully and accurately recorded;
  4. all records and reports shall be written in terms understandable to others, professional, avocational, and non-archaeologist; if new or unclear terms are used, they shall be clearly defined; and
  5. when conditions permit, the interests of other archaeologists and the potential for other research projects shall be considered, and information retrieval, recording and analysis shall be conducted accordingly.

Section 4. When project data (i.e., artifacts, records, etc.) are being processed, analyzed, and stored, the researcher shall establish and maintain an easily understandable system to ensure that provenience, contextual relationships, and other identifying information are preserved.

Section 5. Members shall make every effort to ensure that materials, records and reports resulting from an archaeological project are permanently curated and housed together within a qualified facility and reasonably accessible to other researchers.

Section 6. The results of an archaeological project shall be disseminated to appropriate and interested parties, including public agencies, within a reasonable amount of time following project completion. This includes not only sharing of research results with professional colleagues, but also the education of the public through the media, displays and other activities.

Section 1. The annual fees for each membership category shall be set by the executive board and approved by a majority vote of the members present at a regular meeting.

Section 2. Dues are payable upon election to membership and on January 1 of each year.

Section 3. If dues have not been paid by April 15, membership is forfeited, resulting in the loss of the right to vote, hold office, and receive mailings. Membership can be reinstated by payment of dues up to three years in arrears. If more than three years have elapsed since paying dues, the individual must reapply for membership.

Section 1. The officers of COVA shall be the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and historian.

Section 2. The term of office shall be two years. No officer shall serve more than two consecutive terms in a given office.

Section 3. The president shall have the duties pertaining to the rights and office of the president of COVA. The president shall chair all meetings of COVA and the executive board and shall serve as the representative of the organization. The president shall have the authority to call meetings of the executive board and additional meetings of COVA as situations demand, and to poll the members on issues requiring immediate action. The president shall have the authority to form standing and ad-hoc committees and appoint members. The president shall be an ex officio member of all committees except a nominating committee. The president shall vote only in the case of a tie.

Section 4. The vice-president shall assist the president and shall exercise the duties of the president in the president’s absence. In so acting, the vice-president shall have all powers and responsibilities assigned to the president. The vice-president shall also perform special duties assigned by the president with the approval of the executive board.

Section 5. The secretary shall be responsible for recording and disseminating the minutes of all meetings of COVA and the executive board. All voting by ballot shall be conducted by the secretary. The secretary shall send written notification to all members of regular and special meetings and agendas.

Section 6. The treasurer shall maintain all COVA financial records and be responsible for the collection and disbursement of funds as authorized by the COVA membership and executive board. The treasurer shall be authorized to make such disbursements in the course of normal business with the exception that no disbursements exceeding $300 (three hundred dollars) shall be made without approval by the executive board. The treasurer shall keep a current official membership list, which shall be made available to other officers responsible for official COVA mailings. The treasurer shall submit an annual report of COVA financial affairs to the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission, if required.

Section 7. The historian shall be responsible for documenting, disseminating, preserving, and archiving a record of activities of COVA through the COVA newsletter, the Virginia Archaeologist. The historian shall maintain archival copies of the newsletter and any other documents deemed important by the officers of COVA.

Section 1. The executive board shall include the five current officers plus the immediate past president. The executive board shall have the authority to act on behalf of COVA.

Section 2. The executive board shall have general supervision of the affairs of COVA. The executive board shall be subject to the orders of COVA, and none of its acts shall conflict with action taken by COVA.

Section 3. A majority of the executive board shall constitute a quorum.

Section 4. No officer or member of the executive board shall receive compensation for duties performed; however, on a resolution of the majority of COVA, a member of the executive board may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the accomplishment of duties.

Section 5. Any action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting may be taken without a meeting if a consent in writing, setting forth the action so taken, shall be signed by all of the members of the executive board entitled to vote with respect to the subject matter thereof.

Section 6. The executive board shall establish grievance procedures pertaining to alleged violations by COVA members of the Statement of Ethics and/or Statement of Performance, which shall be made available to any interested person upon request.

Section 1. The president or the executive board may appoint a nominating committee which will propose candidates for office. In addition to or in the absence of a nominating committee, nominations may be made from the floor during the fall COVA meeting in election years.

Section 2. A ballot of candidates for office shall be sent to all members in good standing within 30 days of the fall meeting. Ballots shall be returned to the secretary, who shall tally votes and announce new officers.

Section 3. Any officer or member of the executive board may be removed for cause at any regular or special meeting by a majority vote of the members in good standing present, provided notice of such removal shall have been announced in the meeting notice.

Section 4. If any officer or member of the executive board is unable to complete the term of office, the executive board shall appoint a member to fill the unexpired term. The appointment must be confirmed by a majority vote of members present at its next scheduled meeting.

Section 1. COVA shall hold three regular meetings each year (fall, winter and spring). The secretary shall give notice in writing to members of date, time, place, and agenda for each meeting.

Section 2. Special meetings may be called by the president or upon a majority vote of the executive board or upon request in writing by ten voting members. Except in cases of emergency, written notification of date, time, place, and agenda must be sent to members 15 days in advance. Only business announced in the notice will be transacted at such special meetings.

Section 3. A voting quorum at meetings shall consist of one-quarter of the membership.

Section 1. The COVA standing committees are membership, certification, ethics, and public education committees. The president shall appoint the members and committee chair.

Section 2. The membership committee shall review applications of prospective members, make recommendations concerning the applicant to the membership, and tally voting, as described in Article III, Section 6.

Section 3. The ethics committee shall review the COVA Ethics Statement and recommend appropriate revisions. The committee may advise the executive board upon request in the case of alleged ethics violations by members.

Section 4. The education committee shall disseminate information on archaeology to the public and professional communities.

Section 5. The certification committee shall oversee the COVA program of certification of avocational archaeologists in archaeological field and laboratory methods, in cooperation with the Archeological Society of Virginia.

Section 6. Other committees, standing or ad hoc, shall be constituted by the president or executive board as necessary to carry out the work of COVA. The president shall be an ex officio member of all committees.

Section 7. The executive board shall review the status of all committees annually.

Section 1. The Virginia Archaeologist shall be the official publication of COVA. The Virginia Archaeologist shall include information on the activities of COVA as well as other information of activities and issues of concern to COVA members.

Section 2. The historian shall be responsible for the composition, production, and distribution of the Virginia Archaeologist.

Section 3. COVA shall support the cost of distributing and archiving the Virginia Archaeologist unless institutional support is available. COVA shall not pay for indirect labor expenses incurred in the composition of the Virginia Archaeologist.

Section 4. The Virginia Archaeologist shall be published once a year.

Section 5. The Virginia Archaeologist shall be sent to all members in good standing as a benefit of membership in COVA.

Section 6. The Virginia Archaeologist shall be made available to non-members by annual subscription at a rate set by the executive board. A subscription list, separate from the COVA membership list, shall be maintained by the editor.

The parliamentary authority of COVA shall be determined by the executive board.

Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed at any regular meeting. The proposal shall be referred to the executive board, which shall make a recommendation at the next regular meeting. Amendments shall be adopted if approved by ballot vote of two-thirds of the membership.

These bylaws shall become effective upon ratification by signed mail ballot vote of two-thirds of the membership.