Archaeology Career

By: Kate Stumpf

What is an archaeologist?

Archaeologists don’t just dig up artifacts, contrary to popular belief. In reality archaeologists have many other tasks in their field. To begin, archaeologists are the protectors of excavation sites. It is their job to be sure that the artifacts stay safe, controlled and unbroken in the outside world. After all, they were the one’s that uncovered the artifact in the first place. They have to make sure that it stays in a controlled where it will not be damaged. To insure this they often cover the objects in plaster to protect them on the way back to the lab. But not only do they have to protect the artifacts, they also need to look at the land. It is their job to graph out where they found the artifacts and what type of soil it was found in. Both these variables can show them what time period the object is from and what the environment was back then. After uncovering each artifact they must draw out it’s surroundings and where the artifact was found to help the later in the lab. They also must write down notes about the find. Their work doesn’t end when they leave the site though. Now it’s time for them to look at the data they’ve collected and piece together history. To do this they will look at the age of objects, the materials they are made from and in what place they found them. In fact this part of the process often takes more time than the actually excavating. After they think they have got the just of the site they have to show the public their findings. Talking to museum coordinators, it’s an archeologists job to set up exhibits and present the objects through a speech, book of movie. They could travel to schools and even other countries! After this they have to record what went well and what to change. In many ways archeologists follow the same scientific method that we do. All in all, archeologist have many aspects to their career.

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What do archaeologists do?

Believe it or not archaeologists don’t just dig up artifacts, contrary to popular belief. In reality archaeologists have many other tasks in their field.
To begin, archaeologists are the protectors of excavation sites. It is their job to be sure that the artifacts stay safe, controlled and unbroken in the outside world. After all, they were the one’s that uncovered the artifact in the first place. They have to make sure that it stays in a controlled where it will not be damaged. To insure this they often cover the objects in plaster to protect them on the way back to the lab.
Not only do they have to protect the artifacts, they also need to look at the land. It is their job to graph out where they found the artifacts and what type of soil it was found in. Both these variables can show them what time period the object is from and what the environment was back then.
After uncovering each artifact they must draw out it’s surroundings and where the artifact was found to help the later in the lab. They also must write down notes about the find.
Their work doesn't end when they leave the site though. Now it’s time for them to look at the data they've collected and piece together history. To do this they will look at the age of objects, the materials they are made from and in what place they found them. In fact this part of the process often takes more time than the actually excavating.
After they think they have got the just of the site they have to show the public their findings. Talking to museum coordinators, it’s an archaeologists job to set up exhibits and present the objects through a speech, book of movie. They could travel to schools and even other countries!
Finally, they continue to research and uncover new information.
Then the day starts all over again! As you can see, archaeologists have many aspects to their careers.

Why did I choose archaeology as a career?

I chose this career for multiple reasons.

First off, I enjoy learning about our past. This career really focuses on studying how people lived in different cultures, climates and time periods. Also, you can discover objects and form ideas that have never been seen before. This aspect of the career greatly excites me.

Not only that though. I also love sharing information with the public. It would be very fun to see how people react to the findings of a new city or ruin. All in all this is the perfect career for me for numerous reasons.

What experience and skills do you need to become a successful archaeologist?

Archaeologists must acquire many skills to perform their job completely and successfully.

First off you need language. Often times you may be working in other countries. This is key to understanding you fellow archaeologists field notes as well as living in that country. Knowing multiple languages will also be helpful when studying drawings or messages.

Secondly you need to have a good science base. Chemistry, biology and physics are used when dating an object and operating machines to locate artifacts. After all this is a scientific job!

Math is another big aspect of archeology. It’s used in statistics as well as analyzing objects.

Obviously you need to know about the history of our world. This will help you piece together cities, environments and cultures that we’ve not seen before by comparison.

Make sure you are up to date on all of your grammar and English for you will be writing detailed field reports and maybe even publishing a book to explain your findings.

Finally you will need a lot of common sense and critical thinking skills. They are not going to be textbook answers and you won’t be able to look your subject up on the Internet. Overall, you are going to use all of your schooling and plus some to become a great archaeologist.

What education do I need to acquire to become an archealogist?



There are many different degrees that can get you to become an archeologist depending on how much you want to work and get paid. A bachelor, master, or doctorate degree will all get you a successful career in archaeology. A bachelor degree won't get you analyzing artifacts in the lab, but you will be able to help out for excavations. These jobs are often part-time however, so you may need another job to support you as well. A masters of doctorates degree will allow you to work in museums, study in the labs as well as give speeches on your finds. Phd degrees will open up teaching opportunities in museums and universities as well as all the other work. Most archaeologists study a specific time period or topic such as egyptology at these levels.



What branch of science does archaeology fall under?

I believe that archaeology falls under the life science branch. I believe this because life science deals with the study of living organisms and archaeologists study the past of living things. Also, archaeologists look at the patterns of living organisms and how they change over time. Culture, humans and villages all fall under the life science category and archaeologist study all of this ancient things. Overall, I believe that archaeology falls under the life science category.

What did I find interesting about archaeology?

I found many things very intriguing about archaeology.
To begin, it amazes me how archaeologists can figure out how old an object is by using radioactivity and looking at the ridges in bones. I wonder how they first discovered this technology? This information helps them a ton in the process of piecing together ancient communities.
Secondly, it astonishing me how well artifacts are preserved within the earth. Archaeologists finding artifacts that are a hundred plus years old that are still in almost perfect condition is amazing. How does the earth keep this artifacts so clean and pristine is astounding. Overall, these two aspects of archaeology simply amaze me.

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Edited and Reviewed By Anna Hernandez