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Archaeologist


How to become an Archaeologist
Job requirements of an Archaeologist
Necessary Skills and Qualities of an Archaeologist
Average Salary of an Archaeologist
Famous or Influential Archaeologists
Archaeology-related organizations
Top Cities for Archaeology Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How do I become an Archaeologist?

Archaeology is considered to be a subdivision of anthropology; the study of humans. For this general and very broad field, a bachelors degree won't count for much. At the very least, masters degrees are required, and possibly a PhD. One can work with archaeologists while having a bachelors degree, but it will not help one actually become an archaeologist.

Anthropology is a scientific field, so the education requirements can be demanding. Usually, it is a good idea to start focusing one's study in a particular area or topic within the very broad field of anthropology (period of history, geographic location, cultural phenomenon) in one's later years of undergraduate study, and then become even more focused in graduate degrees. Many graduate degree programs include some measure of field experience, where one goes to an actual archaeological dig, or works with actual objects at museums. Education and experience are the keys to advancement, and sometimes even getting a job opportunity at all. Many archaeologists are associated with colleges and universities, and a PhD is required to teach at these higher institutions, for example.

Experience is also essential in becoming an archaeologist. Many college students who wish to become archaeologists get experience as undergraduates, and beginning archaeologists can work as apprentices to more experienced archaeologists.

What are the job responsibilities of an Archaeologist?

An archaeologist is a type of scientist who studies human beings and civilizations of the past - their behavior, culture and origins, technology, etc.. Anthropology is usually situated among the "social sciences", together with psychology, sociology, and anthropology. The thing that most people aren't familiar with is that archaeologists don't only focus on the distant past, but also on the more recent past. Archaeologists' work is focused on piecing together a history of the past. The research they do is often interdisciplinary, requiring knowledge of languages, history, politics, philosophy and sometimes ancient technology and military science. A lot of the job is painstaking research with ancient resources. Hands-on work, like archaeological digs, is also painstaking as there are particular and specific methods that must be employed to strategically unearth layers of history. The work is often slow and tedious, whether it is research or hands-on field work.

What are the ideal skills and personal qualities necessary to become an Archaeologist?

The point of any science is investigation and research, so an archaeologist needs an analytical intelligence, skill at statistics, and an open mind. The use of computers is increasingly important as software has become important for data analysis and modeling of theories and technology is used increasingly to analyze physical objects. Archaeologists, like other scientists, must also become adept at keeping up to date on the forefront of their field, attending conferences and discussing findings with colleagues. The ability to design experiments or data collecting projects, analyze findings, and present an argument based on findings is also key.

What is the average salary of an Archaeologist?

Archaeologists make between $31,000 - $84,000 per year, depending on their experience, hours worked, employer, and specialty. The vast majority of Archaeologists are employed by research institutions. The next largest employer type is the federal government of the United States.


Who are some noted professionals in the field of Archaeology?

Probably one of the most famous fictional Archaeologists today is Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford. On a more serious note, other famous archaeologists are:

Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890): became famous for discovering the actual city of Troy, which archaeologists doubted truly existed before then.

Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778-1823): was an archaeologist famous for his work on Egyptology

Howard Carter (1874-1939): was an archaeologist who was made famous for his discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun

Flinders Petrie (1853-1942): was an archaeologist famous for pioneering scientific methodology in archaeology

Charles Dawson (1864-1916): was an amateur archaeologist famous for his discoveries which were later found out to be completely fraudulent

Another good rule of thumb would be to look up the leading professors in strong and well known anthropology departments at larger universities as well as the leadership at the organizations mentioned below.

What are some important organizations in the field of Archaeology?

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) was founded in 1902 to promote the science of anthropology and coordinate the efforts of anthropologists.

The American Association of Physical Archaeologists (AAPA) is an organization for physical archaeologists.

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) promotes interest in human civilizations of the past.

National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) was founded in 1983 to promote the science of anthropology.

The Society for American Archaeology (SAA), founded in 1934, is an international organization for archaeology in the Americas.

What are the top cities for Archaeology jobs?

Interestingly, Hawaii ranks highest as a state for archaeologists, and Honolulu is the best city for archaeology-related jobs, employing a high concentration of archaeologists.

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