By-Laws of ISAAC

Purposes | Aims | Membership | Meetings | Council | CommitteesElections | Activities | Amendments

Dissolution | Additional Regulations | Amendment History


The International Society for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture, Inc. (ISAAC), hereinafter "The Society" is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.


The aims of the Society are:

  • To promote the interdisciplinary study of astronomical practice within the general study of human societies and their relationships to their environments; and

  • To promote research seeking to develop our understanding of the cultural significance of astronomical knowledge through the integration of techniques and methods within the humanities and social sciences, astronomy, and methodological disciplines.


The Society is composed of Honorary Members, Founder Members, Full Members, and Associate Members.

(a) Full Member: Any person who has published significant scholarly research on the topics mentioned in Section 2 may become a Full Member upon nomination by two Members, acceptance by the Council, and payment of the appropriate membership fee. 

(b) Associate Member: Students and others having a serious interest in the study of astronomy in culture, who have not published significant work in the field, may become Associate Members upon nomination by two Members, acceptance by the Council, and payment of the appropriate membership fee. Associate Members are not voting Members of the Society

"Significant scholarly research" includes peer-reviewed journal papers, conference proceedings, books, or book chapters related to the interdisciplinary study of astronomical practice within the general study of human societies and their relationships to their environments. Non-refereed bulletins, blogs, newsletters, etc. do not qualify.

Applications for membership must send via email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following information:

  • The category of membership for which the candidate is applying (Full or Associate);
  • A curriculum vitae (CV) or resume. This needs to include the applicant's contact details, educational background, publications, and any relevant information.

Once membership is accepted, members will receive a confirmartion email. Members must then pay the appropriate membershp fee, after which you will receive a Certificate of Membership.

(c) Fees: The fee payable by each category of membership is fixed at the General Meeting. In the light of prevailing economic conditions, the fee for membership in a given category may vary according to the Member's country of residence.

Fees are paid per triennium (3 year period) and are the same for Full and Associate members under the following conditions:

  • Professionals working in a country listed below: USD $60
  • Students, retirees, or professionals working in a country not listed belowUSD $30

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States. All curreny is in United States Dollars.


Those meeting the second condition who can afford to pay the full $60 fee are encouraged to do so, but that decision is left to the individual.


Pay fees via PayPal once your membership is accepted. Click here to pay.

(d) Membership is lost under the following conditions:

  • by resignation;

  • by decision of the Council for acts considered morally or materially harmful to the Society; or

  • by decision of the Council following non-payment of fees for two consecutive payment periods.


The General Meeting of the Society will be held in conjunction with an international scholarly conference on Astronomy in Culture. General Meetings shall normally be held at intervals of three years. The Council may modify that interval as necessary but in no circumstances may the interval between General Meetings exceed five years.

Members shall be given due notice of the time and place of the forthcoming General Meeting.


The Society is governed by a Board of Directors, known as the Council, consisting of a President, a Vice-President who is President-elect, a Secretary and a Treasurer (these posts may be merged), the past President of the Society, six Councilors, the senior editor or other representative of the editorial board of the Society's journal; the Chair or other representative of the Local Organizing Committees of the previous and next planned "Oxford" conferences; and the President or other representative of particular international academic bodies with related interests, as designated by Council from time to time.

The Council and its committees may conduct their business by physical meetings, by electronic mail, or by such other means that provide all members of the body with the opportunity to participate fully in its deliberations.


The Executive Committee consists of the President, Vice-President, past President, and not more than three other Councilors designated by the Council. It acts on behalf of the Council to carry out the day-to-day business of the Society and, after consultation, attends to any organizational tasks that might arise. The actions of the Executive Committee shall be reported to the Council at its next regular meeting.

The Council may appoint further committees, define their duties, and receive their reports. Such committees shall submit written reports to the Council in advance of the General Meeting and at such other times as the committee considers appropriate or the Council may require. The Chair of each committee shall be a non-voting ex officio Member of the Council, if not already a Council Member.


Councilors are elected for staggered terms normally extending from one General Meeting to the second subsequent General Meeting. Normally, half of the Councilors shall be elected at each General Meeting. Members of the initial Council shall select three Councilors to serve a short term lasting until the next General Meeting.

The President and Vice-President are elected for terms lasting until the next General Meeting. At the time of each General Meeting the incoming Council shall elect a Secretary and Treasurer from among the Members of the Society for a term lasting until the next General Meeting.

The Council shall submit election ballots by mail or e-mail to the membership at least two months before the General Meeting. For the office of President, the ballot shall contain the name of the President-elect; for the Vice-President, the ballot shall contain the names of one or more candidates proposed by the Council, together with the names of any other candidates nominated by petitions signed by at least fifteen Members of the Society. For each vacancy on the Council, the ballot shall contain the names of two candidates proposed by the Council, together with the names of any other candidates nominated by petitions signed by at least ten Members of the Society.

In exceptional circumstances, Council may submit election ballots by mail or e-mail to the membership at any time, with the relevant positions on Council being confirmed by a specific closing date not earlier than two months after the date of the mailing or e-mailing.


The Society shall:

  • organize meetings, edit volumes of proceedings and books, and promote the establishment and maintenance of a journal devoted to astronomy in culture in its widest sense;

  • establish formal and informal relationships with international, regional, and national academic bodies promoting scholarship in related areas; and assist the development of projects in cultural astronomy.

No part of the net earnings of the Society shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the Society shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Section 1 hereof.

No substantial part of the activities of the Society shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Society shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.

Notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws, this Society shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes of this Society.


Amendments to the Bylaws shall be proposed by the Council to the membership either by mail ballot and approved by two thirds of those Members voting or at the General Meeting and approved by two thirds of those Members present and voting.


The dissolution of the Society is to be approved by two thirds of all Members. A proposal for dissolution must contain a proposal for the destination of the property of the Society. Upon the dissolution of the Society, assets shall be distributed for one or more purposes consistent with the aims of the Society that are exempt within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the Society is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.


The Council shall establish such additional regulations necessary for the working of the Society. These must be approved by the following General Meeting.



Amendment History

ISAAC is registered in the United States of America as a corporate body whose aims are exclusively charitable, educational and scientific.

At the 2014 General Meeting, the outgoing Council proposed amendments to Section 7 of the by-laws, as permitted under Section 9 of the by-laws.

Approved by mail ballot, 14 February 2005. [PDF]

Amended at Oxford X Meeting, 18 July 2014. [PDF]


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UNESCO’s Portal to the Heritage of Astronomy contains information on a number of archaeoastronomical heritage sites