Topic ID #29807 - posted 9/18/2013 8:20 AM



What are different jobs available in Archeology? I am doing a school project about archeology but I cant find any answers.

Post ID#20268 - replied 9/19/2013 3:56 AM


That depends on your other skill sets.  Typically, if you were to go through a BA/BS program within archaeology, when you get out most likely you will be pigeon-holed into cultural resource management at the very basic of levels (field technician, shovelbum, grunt).  CRM in a nutshell is compliance driven, or mandated by law, and is typically done prior to any federally funded project.  While this figure may vary, I think roughly 90% of archaeologists are employed through some type of CRM work. This is definitely not to say that you won't or couldn't do anything else.  From there, you may have the opportunity to become a crew chief which is basically a field supervisor and make a tiny-bit more money.

Unfortunately, in order to "progress" in this field, you have to return to school to get a graduate level degree.  For some reason (secretary of interior standards mainly, maybe a little bit of a good-ol-boys club, mixed with the mentality of "Well I had to do it so you do too!"), one has to pay for more education in order to be considered a true professional.

Other lines of work could include, but are not limited to (depending on education and experience): museums, state level and federal level archaeologists, GIS technician, educator, possibly something within forensics, if big business and politicians have there way, unemployed.

I know, I am seeming to be negative about it (more tongue in cheek), but really the sky should be your limit with any social science or humanities background.  You just need to acquire other skills (preferably within some type of technical field) and be creative about how you look at things and what you are really interested in studying.  We have the benefit of being able to think critically, not that others can't, but our fields are a lot more interdisciplinary than most and allows you to have the ability to (whether you use it or not) pull from a plethora of sources and examples to think outside the box.  Unfortunately, people don't always see it when you look for work outside the field.

Post ID#20271 - replied 9/21/2013 2:26 PM


yeah, what he said

but I'll be a bit more specific

the vast majority of archaeologists working in this country work for a private firm. this website has a nice list of some with links to their websites you can check out here:

a large amount work for federal agencies, but not as much as in the private contract firms above, agencies such as:

a smaller amount work for state agencies, such as:

an even smaller amount work for non-profit types:

and then there's a few who end up landing dream job type positions:

hope that helps!

Post ID#20280 - replied 10/6/2013 8:27 PM


These two definitely sum up about most of it, but I would also add that on the public side of things there are opportunities for compliance review of projects that trip the massive interconnected web of legislation requiring federal oversight.  These kinds of jobs can be found within many of the large federal entities from the US Army Corps of Engineers to the Bureau of Land Management to the Department of Homeland Security.  It doesn't seem obvious but all the federal agencies have to comply with the various laws and executive orders which involves consulting with one another on cultural and environmental issues.  

As they said there are academic barriers that exist, for whatever reason, that impedes advancement in the field and offer a modest return if you do.  First and foremost is the Secretary of Interiors standards, of which only archaeology requires a Masters Degree and not just a Bachelor's with experience.  Various states have followed suit with similar requirements, but no standards exist for technicians performing the work and thus the pay stays low due to a rapid stream of liberal arts undergraduates and the threat of being outsourced.

This, along with lots of travel, impermanence of work and being intertwined with economic expansion discourages many people from the field.  An ability to tap into the other connected disciplines is key to surviving in the world of archaeology.   


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