This is a Guest Post contributed by an Anonymous Writer via Postrunner
When you think of Archaeology, does Indiana Jones springs to your mind, or long-lost treasure hunters, traveling around the world delving into forgotten tombs and finding lost civilizations. While that is quite possible, that romanticized view of archaeology probably won’t persist very far. Still, Archaeology can be a very attractive field. Some might think of it as a more active form of engaging in historical research, but the truth of the matter is that the field is a sublime melding of the humanities and sciences.A single artifact, like the famed “Rosetta Stone” can dramatically change the viewpoint of a culture to all of humanity.
If you have an interest in the field and you want to become an archaeologist, you have to be willing to put in a great deal of work. One cannot simply walk onto a site and hope for the best – it takes a specific kind of person to become an Archaeologist, and a very specific sort of education to stay competitive.
Become an Archaeologist: The Proper Background
Before considering your education, you should first consider what makes a good prospective archaeologist. First, and perhaps foremost, is a love of learning. Archaeology is a field that requires a great deal of study and further research, and you will spend a great deal of time researching your work findings and learning where they fit in to the established academic hierarchy.
If you have no formal background experience in archaeology (and as a undergrad or grad student you probably won’t), consider the tourism industry as an entry point. Most Archaeology posts in Universities and Colleges are scarce- almost all of look for PHD or equivalent degrees. Museum archaeologists are hired fewer in number now as well. Finally, field archaeology is where the brunt of the workforce seems to be flowing.
Archaeology is a wide field of study and the courses you take needs to reflect that. Chemistry, biology, anthropology, even math and physics all play a great deal in fieldwork and analysis in archaeology.
Beyond a simple love of learning, you will also need to be comfortable with hard physical labor and being outdoors. Most new archaeologists work as “circuit diggers”, spending long hours in the elements seeking to find something of note. If you cannot handle manual labor, you will need to find a different career path.
Become an Archaeologist: The Proper Education
If you want to be an archaeologist, you need to get a degree in archaeology. Most top-rate universities offer such degrees and competition is often quite stiff in the more well-known departments. If you want to make yourself employable after graduation, you should supplement your degree in archaeology with significant studies in a specific field of interest. Picking up a minor or second major in a specific field of history or in anthropology will help you to stand out in a field that is often far more crowded than most realize.
Unfortunately, the right background and education do not always a professional archaeologist make. Getting a stable job in the field for a decent salary is tough, while getting a job at a university or in a museum can be even more difficult. Finding a good way to stand out early on is often the only way to make sure that you even stand a chance of future employment, but even making that attempt is not for the faint at heart. If you are lucky as well as talented, though, you can find a very fulfilling career in the field.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Molecular archaeology: learning from our waste | Tim Batchelder.com | February 12, 2013