What are the Different Archaeology Jobs?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

There are a number of different archaeology jobs, that is, jobs that are done to carry out an archaeological investigation. Some of these jobs are performed by archaeologists, but others are performed by people with a variety of other types of professional training—because other fields, such as classics and anthropology overlap with archaeology—or none at all.

Archaeologists work in a variety of settings, including at field excavation sites.
Archaeologists work in a variety of settings, including at field excavation sites.

One type of archaeology job is as an instructor or faculty member who provides instruction in archaeology at an institution of higher education, whether a community college, a college or a university. An archaeology professor might instruct undergraduates, graduate students, or both, and might be employed by a variety of departments besides archaeology, including anthropology, art history, classics, history, and theology. Often, academic archaeology jobs are for nine months, and the archaeologist may spend the summer in other pursuits.

Analyzing finds, publishing research and making presentations are common tasks for academic archaeologists.
Analyzing finds, publishing research and making presentations are common tasks for academic archaeologists.

Archaeology jobs in museums may have an academic affiliation or not. Museum positions may include fieldwork, or include administrative tasks. A museum archaeologist would likely create displays as well as conduct, publish, and present research. In a museum with a university affiliation, some staff may hold university appointments as well as their museum positions.

Several departments of the Federal government employ people in archaeology jobs. These include the Bureau of Land Management, The National Park Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Forest Service combine to employ around 800 archaeologists. State’s also employ archaeologists in the State Historic Preservation Office, and may also use the services of archaeologists in their highway, park, and water resources departments. If a city has an archaeological site, it may hire archaeologists to advise it. Oversight of such situations is referred to as CRM, cultural resources management. The other side of CRM is the private firms that investigate CRM sites. Archaeologists in this area both locate and excavate sites.

As it turns out, archaeology is one of the fields in which volunteers are widely used. Depending on whether or not they have excavation experience, volunteers may carry out archaeology jobs in the field or in the lab. They may screen on the site itself, for example, or they may carry out a variety of activities in the lab, from sorting and labeling to identification and data analysis.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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