Topic ID #23916 - posted 10/14/2012 4:07 PM

Archeology Career Research



ReaRea

Please help if you can.  I'm currently in 8th grade and doing a research paper on archeology as a career.  I have some questions and would appreciate it if members of this group could answer them.  Thanks in advance.  ReaRea.

Q1:  What made you interested in archeology?
Q2:  What about archeology makes you like it so much?
Q3:  Was there anyone who inspired you or maybe perhaps was a role model?
Q4:  Have you always liked archeology?
Q5:  What did you have to do academically to get where you are?
Q6:  What challenges have you faced?
Q7:  What do you do as an archeologist - specifically?
Q8:  Have you been on any excavations, and If so; can you describe what it is like?
Q9:  Do you at times regret your decision to become an archeologist?

Thank you again.




Post ID#19803 - replied 10/17/2012 7:23 AM



arsewell

Q1:  What made you interested in archeology? - The connection to our past.
Q2:  What about archeology makes you like it so much? -You are constantly learning new things.
Q3:  Was there anyone who inspired you or maybe perhaps was a role model? -My advisory committee for grad school, and the people in my class.
Q4:  Have you always liked archeology? -yes, but didn't consider it as a career until college
Q5:  What did you have to do academically to get where you are? -Acquired a BA and MS in the discipline
Q6:  What challenges have you faced? -Low pay, iffy job market, trying to stay connected to academic research while in commercial archaeology.
Q7:  What do you do as an archeologist - specifically? -Principal Investigator-I am basically a project manager and design projects from budget through report production. I oversee other archaeologists and sometimes still get to dig a hole now and then, but 95% of my time is in front of a computer.
Q8:  Have you been on any excavations, and If so; can you describe what it is like? -All excavations differ, all have their ups and downs. Anytime you can find out something new about a site or region is exciting.
Q9:  Do you at times regret your decision to become an archeologist? -Never. It's all a part of getting me to where I am today.

Post ID#19813 - replied 10/19/2012 1:32 PM



whatamIdoing

Q1:  What made you interested in archeology?
I've always been obsesed/ fascinated with the past and how things used to be.

Q2:  What about archeology makes you like it so much?
I get to spend a lot of time outdoors, get to see amazing things and learn about them.

Q3:  Was there anyone who inspired you or maybe perhaps was a role model?
Anyone I've ever met who has followed their passions in life.

Q4:  Have you always liked archeology?
Yes.

Q5:  What did you have to do academically to get where you are?
I have a B.A., hopefully in grad school working on my M.A. this time next year.

Q6:  What challenges have you faced?
Low pay, highly competitive job market, finding jobs where you can actually develop a useful set of skills.

Q7:  What do you do as an archeologist - specifically?
I'm an archeological technician for the National Park Service. I perform surveys, excavations, consultations, examine and document the conditions of archeological sites as well as historic buildings, watching construction equipment to see if they unearth artifacts, and writing reports. I probably spend about 60-70% of my time in the office writing project reports.

Q8:  Have you been on any excavations, and If so; can you describe what it is like?
Yes I've been on a bunch. For me there's always this feeling of excitement of what may possibly be found mixed with the attitudes and personalities of those working with you. Spend enough time on an excavation the crew you work with seems like a family, who you laugh and argue with etc.

Q9:  Do you at times regret your decision to become an archeologist?
Sometimes I wonder what I would do or would be doing had I did something else with my life, but mostly I don't. I spend time with my friends who went into a career field that they weren't interested in and I am glad I made the decision I did.

Post ID#19815 - replied 10/19/2012 7:21 PM



rkeyo

Moderator
Hi ReaRea,

Q1:  What made you interested in archeology? The mystery of the unwritten past, and the fact that you do it outdoors in really neat places!
Q2:  What about archeology makes you like it so much? It's an intellectually challenging puzzle that has to do with human's favorite subject - ourselves!
Q3:  Was there anyone who inspired you or maybe perhaps was a role model? Several. All of them freely shared their time and knowledge, asking nothing in return.
Q4:  Have you always liked archeology? More or less. Archaeology is a second career for me, so it took a while to really get into it.
Q5:  What did you have to do academically to get where you are? Study hard, and put 100% into all of my classes to get a BA, and then do it again with my master's.
Q6:  What challenges have you faced? Poverty, crummy working conditions, small budgets, not enough time or help to do projects properly, idiots in management, etc.
Q7:  What do you do as an archeologist - specifically? I am currently in New Orleans reviewing millions of dollars worth of Hurricane Katrina rebuilding projects, funded with federal money, for compliance with Section 106 (homework for YOU - look up 36 CFR 800, Section 106).
Q8:  Have you been on any excavations, and If so; can you describe what it is like? Yes. Excavation is hard work, and often you spend hours, and sometimes days, digging empty units. You get dirty and tired. However, when you find features and artifacts, it is exciting and very satisfying. What I like best, though, is writing up the results in a report.
Q9:  Do you at times regret your decision to become an archeologist? Not really, and never for long.

I hope this helps and that you get a great grade!

Post ID#19817 - replied 10/20/2012 3:43 PM



MATrickett

I thought that I would throw in a couple of pennies here.

Q1:  What made you interested in archeology?

I actually started out my academic "career" in astrophysics, but quickly learned that it wasn't for me.  I came over to archaeology because it answered the kind of questions that I was interested in, or about the human experience through time.

If it came down a root experience, though, I can remember fondly digging out in the garden and recovering a 19th-century florin (1874).  It wasn't the singular reason for it, but I did remember it fondly when I decided to switch from astrophysics to archaeology.

Q2:  What about archeology makes you like it so much?

I think it was Nature that described archaeology as one of the "last, great explorations" for humanity.  Exploring archaeology is exploring not only our past but what it is to be human.  

In terms of being an archaeologist, I'm going to have to agree with previous posters.  Archaeology requires that you are conversant in a wide range of subject materials so you're constantly learning (if you want to).  I think that learning is a great thing so, as they say, love what you do--if you do you'll never work another day in your life.

Q3:  Was there anyone who inspired you or maybe perhaps was a role model?

For me, not so much.  I have, however, met and read the materials of many people whose research I find exciting and inspiring, but no one that I would consider a personal role model.

Q4:  Have you always liked archeology?

While I'm thinking about it, isn't it only the NPS that still enforces the spelling of archaeology as "archeology?"

Waggish comments aside, yes, I have always appreciated archaeology.  

Q5:  What did you have to do academically to get where you are?

I have a BSc. in Archaeology, MSc. in osteoarchaeology, and a Ph.D. in history, archaeology/forensic archaeology, and isotope biogeochemistry.  I'm currently a Research Archaeologist at a presidential home on the east coast of the US.

Q6:  What challenges have you faced?

One big challenge was coming over to the US as a field archaeologist.  I'm not sure of how true this is, but the immigration lawyer suggested that I was the only one to have done that to his knowledge.  

Beyond that I have similar issues as arsewell--at the moment I'm trying to get back into academic archaeology as someone that has spent the better part of the last decade as a professional archaeologist (if not quite commercial in the traditional sense).

Q7:  What do you do as an archeologist - specifically?

At the moment I'm a Research Archaeologist, which is basically a pretty title for someone that directs and manages archaeological investigations on a presidential property.  I also teach at a US university, though not this semester.  In summer, I teach archaeological field schools.  Much of my winter is taken in writing archaeological reports.

In my spare time, I multi-task with digital modeling of archaeological sites, keep up with my reading on archaeology, and generally try and do as much as I can.  I have built websites and touchscreen interfaces for museum displays.

In my spare, spare time I try and spend time with my wife who is equally busy as an archaeologist and museum professional.  This is, of course, the most important bit!

Q8:  Have you been on any excavations, and If so; can you describe what it is like?

That is a huge question.  I've worked in England, Ireland, Italy, Borneo, and the United States and each excavation has been different and offered its own challenges on both a personal and academic level.  There have been times that I've felt like I've sweated my weight away in Borneo and Virginia, and times that I've felt that I've been immersed in liquid nitrogen while working in Ireland.  I have excavated medieval cesspits in the UK, the earliest Roman road in London, and bat and bird manure in Borneo.  From early Christian burials to those of the earliest modern humans in Southeast Asia, latrines in Civil War encampments to the homes of enslaved individuals in 18th/19th-century America... and so on.

When it comes down to it, archaeology is cool.  The only downside is often with the archaeologists themselves.  About the most accurate assessment of archaeology can be found on the "About" section of diggingthedirt.com:

If you’ve never met an archaeologist before and your just stumbling, then let us explain. Get one archaeologist by him or herself and they’ll happily talk archaeology all day. They’ll tell you how much they enjoy their job, how they love working outside and anything else they can think of which makes their job sound more interesting than your boring (but well paid and dry) office job.

Two archaeologists, and they’ll still talk shop, only this time it will all be about how crap the pay is and how terrible the conditions. They’ll talk about how shite the site is, which ejit’s digging which feature wrong, how the project manager doesn’t know his arse from his elbow, how the site they were working on before was so much better...

Q9:  Do you at times regret your decision to become an archeologist?

Only when I think about buying a house.

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