Archaeologist Job Description
An archaeologist is person who studies past human cultures through their material remains to uncover the mystery surrounding them. Archaeologists study the people who inhabited the world before us by examining the artifacts they left behind such as buildings, graves, tools and pottery.
An archaeologist should be patient, enthusiastic, enquiring, observant, determined and methodical, and have the ability to think critically and solve problems. They should be able to communicate effectively and work well with others in a team.
Pursue a career in archeology if you are interested in the people who inhabited the world before us and would enjoy researching to dig up information about them.
What does an Archaeologist do?
Archaeologists may do some or all of the following:
- identify possible archeological sites
- conduct research to study past human societies through ancient artifacts
- excavate sites, find and document items found
- collect and analyze artifacts
- conduct laboratory analysis
- interpret information from the artifacts
- supervise excavations
- establish the age of an artifact and its origin
- preserve industrial artifacts and buildings
- write and publish papers in academic journals
- give specialist lectures
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does an Archaeologist work?
Places of work for archaeologists include:
- Survey and excavation companies
- Heritage conservation centers
- Colleges and universities
- State and federal agencies
- Private consulting firms
Archaeologists may work indoors in offices, laboratories and museums, and outside at ancient sites, recovering and examining the material remains of ancient cultures.
Archaeologists who work in offices usually work normal office hours, while those who do fieldworks may work irregular hours including evenings and weekends to complete projects. They travel to archeological sites and may be away from home for a period of time and work in all weather conditions.
What is Required to Become an Archaeologist?
To become an archeologist, you will need a master’s or doctoral degree in archeology or a similar discipline. Archeology is a sub discipline of anthropology.
Secondary school students interested in studying archeology should take classes such as Statistics, geography, English, art history, physics and chemistry, as archeology crosses the boundary between art and science.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Human Origins
- Habitat and Humanity
- Prehistoric Art
- Methods and techniques of archaeology
- Archaeological Theory and Practice
- Death, Burial, and Culture
An archaeologist may specialize to become any of the following:
- Archaeozoologist – an archaeologist who studies excavated bones of animals
- Georchaeologist - an archaeologist who specializes in geoarcheology
- Experimental archaeologist – an archaeologist who is concerned with the replication of ancient tools and techniques
- Maritime Archaeologist – an archeologist who studies underwater archaeology
- Classical Archaeologist – an archeologist who studies past societies around the Mediterranean, such as ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt
- Egyptologist – an archeologist who studies prehistoric Egypt
- Paleopathologist – an archeologist who specializes in the field of paleopathology
- Palynologist – an archeologist who studies preserved pollen to understand past environments and food
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Archaeologists need to have:
- creativity and imagination
- self motivation
- discipline and integrity
- manual dexterity
- physical strength and stamina
- good eyesight
- good attention to detail
- good interpersonal skills
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organizational skills
- computer skills
- leadership skills
- research skills
- the ability to cope with stress, both physical and emotional
- the ability to tolerate people who think differently from them
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with new developments in the field
- knowledge of soil types
- knowledge of Scientific rules and methods
- knowledge of statistics
- knowledge of geology and geography
- knowledge of surveying
- knowledge of human physiology
- knowledge of exaction techniques
Should I be an Archaeologist?
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