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Archaeologist Job Description, Career as a Archaeologist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Master’s degree in archaeology.

Salary: Median— $71,551 annually

Employment Outlook: Fair

The systematic study of past human lives and habitats with the help of material remains is known as archaeology. Individuals who hunt for answers to historical mysteries of the past are referred to as archaeologists. Such professionals are involved in the extensive study of historical relics that throw light on different races, cultures, rituals, ad practices that may now be extinct.

Archaeologists generally work through three different stages. The process begins with field work that involves extensive excavations of archaeological sites. In the second stage, an archaeologist concentrates on laboratory procedures which scrutinize the collected objects to yield further information and draw conclusions. This is followed by the last and final stage when archaeologists need to publish the report in a scientific journal. This report needs to be accompanied by maps, photographs, and diagrams of the concerned archaeological site.

Archaeologists need to maintain detailed reports of their examinations and findings for the purpose of further study. Hence, an archaeologist must be able to testify his/ her findings through a well written and factually correct report. One must also be familiar with both field work and laboratory procedures.

Education and Training Requirements

The basic educational requirement for an archaeologist is a master’s degree in archaeology. However, a Ph.D degree may be preferred for higher-level positions. Doctorate degrees may also be necessary if one wants to apply for grants to pursue research programs. Those with a bachelor’s degree are generally recruited for entry-level jobs such as trainee archaeologist, research assistant, and writer.

Archaeological studies may require knowledge of ancient and classical languages. On the other hand, quantitative research requires swift interpretation of mathematical data and statistical records. Hence sound knowledge of statistics and mathematics may come handy. Those who aspire to make a career in archaeology must also possess flair of writing as researched conclusions need to be presented in written form.

Getting the Job

Both the private and the public sector offer employment opportunities in the field of archaeology. Generally, archaeologists start their careers by assisting senior researchers in museums and archives. Information regarding such job openings is often advertised in websites on the Internet, and in newspapers. It might also be a good idea to become a member of an archaeological society as these associations offer the scope of interacting with others in the profession. One can also opt for faculty positions in colleges and universities.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement in this profession primarily depends on the journals an archaeologist publishes. Those with substantial research works can move up to the higher levels of administrative and research positions. Knowledge, skills, and flexibility are extremely necessary in order to excel in this field. These allow archaeologists to shift into parallel careers as market and survey researchers, engineers, urban and regional planners, and statisticians.

The employment rate of archaeologists is expected to increase by 10% in the next few years. Job opportunities will be particularly lucrative in industries like management, and scientific and technical consulting services.

Working Conditions

The work of an archaeologist has a mix of both outdoor activities and indoor desk job. Travel is an important part of this occupation, and archaeologists are often required to work in different climates and socio-cultural atmospheres. During site explorations, there are no fixed schedules and archaeologists may have to work through a major part of the day. Post-excavation work mainly pertains to research and preparation of articles and reports, and archaeologists can enjoy regular 40-hour weeks during this period. Those employed as teachers and researchers enjoy flexible working hours.

Where to Go for More Information

Society for American Archaeology
900 Second Street NE #12
Washington, DC 20002-3560

New York State Archaeological Association
43 St John
Binghamton, NY 13905

Archaeology, Astronautics and SETI Research Association legendarytimes.com
P.O. Box 6400
Oceanside, CA 92052-6400

Society for American Archaeology
900 Second Street NE #12
Washington, DC 20002-3560

Earnings and Benefits

As per data published in 2009, the median annual salary of archaeologists in the United States is $71,551. The average entry level salaries are around $33,000, while those with experience can earn between $39,000 and $71,000 every year. However, the salaries often depend on the kind of organization one is working for. For instance, those with the federal government report median annual salaries of $68,000, while those working as professors or museum curators may earn in the range $80,000 to $100,000 annually.

Archaeologists working in the government enjoy paid and sick leaves, vacations, and pension plans. Private firms offer similar benefits, and sometimes even life insurance and health insurance coverage schemes.

Additional topics

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