Archeologists examine, recover, analyze and preserve artifacts, human and animal remains, and areas from past human cultures. They connect artifacts with information about past environments to learn about the history, customs, and the living habits of people in earlier eras. The artifacts and remains they examine may include human and animal skeletal remains, tools, pottery, coins, cave paintings, and ruins of buildings.
Archaeologists are responsible for surveying sites believed to be of archaeological significance in order to prepare for an excavation of the area. They must also manage and protect these archeological sites, and work to secure any funding necessary for the project.
Archeologists often specialize in a particular geographic area, period, or objects of study, such as coins, human remains or underwater sites.
The education needed to become an archaeologist ranges from a bachelor’s degree to a Ph.D., depending on the level of responsibility of the specific position.
Bachelor’s Degree: Having an undergraduate degree in archaeology or anthropology will qualify you to work an entry-level archaeology job, such as Research Assistant, Laboratory Technician, or Site Excavation Technician (also known as a “digger”). Individuals who work as diggers may be employed on a seasonal or contract basis. Their contracts may range from a couple of weeks to a couple of years. Occasionally it is possible for diggers to transfer to more permanent jobs in archaeology.
Master’s Degree: Depending on the requirements of the employer, a master’s degree in archaeology, anthropology or a closely related field is typically sufficient for many applied research positions.
Doctoral Degree: To become an archaeologist who works as a university teacher, lecturer or researcher, a Ph.D. in archaeology, anthropology or a closely related field is generally needed.
In order to become effective in a career as an archeologists , and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:
Employment of archeologist is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024,slower than the average for all occupations. Prospective anthropologists and archeologists will likely face strong competition for jobs because of the small number of positions relative to applicants.
If you want to become an archaeologist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an archaeologist:
• You have a keen interest in history and historical artifacts
• You are able to handle employment insecurity and limited project funding
• You enjoy traveling to remote locations and working closely with people from other regions
• You have excellent project management skills
• You have fundraising and negotiation skills
• You have the mental and emotional stamina needed to complete educational requirements
• You have manual dexterity
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