What does an Archeologist do? An archeologist studies civilization's past..


What does a Archeologist do?

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What does an Archeologist do?


An archeologist studies civilization’s past by studying the physical remains of artifacts left by that civilization to understand their culture. Archeology is actually a subfield of anthropology, as anthropology is a broad study of all human culture.

Archeologists want to understand why people lived where they lived, what life might have been like for a group of people, and what changes to their society may have occurred over time. Archeologists would even discover the advances made by the civilization over time. According to the Society of American Archeology, this is also the only field of study that covers all times periods and all geographic regions inhabited by humans.

How to Become an Archeologist

An anthropologist requires a master’s degree or PhD in archeology. They would normally do field work for 12-30 months while obtaining a PHd and many master’s degrees may also require field work hours as well. Experience in some form of archaeological field work is usually expected, by employers. Those holding a bachelor’s degree may obtain entry level jobs as field workers or assistants, but to conduct independent studies or projects one must earn a doctorate degree..

Job Description of Archeologist

An archeologist researches the culture and past human life in history from remains, architectural features, artifacts and structures found in excavation or underwater recovery or other discovery. They would carefully record all information and location, as well as, authenticate them, date and identify the objects and structures that an excavation has recovered. Recordings would include: an artifact’s function, shape, size and decoration and can give descriptions based on an artifact’s attributes or physical properties, like the materials they were made of. They answer specific questions about past societies and cultures according to their survey and research and write and/or publish reports that record site methodology, history and artifact analysis results. They would also give their recommendations and findings to colleagues and the general public for interpreting findings and conserving.

An archaeologist work very closely with anthropologist; they would draw and update maps of the site of features, stratum surfaces and unit profiles. A collection would be made of the artifacts of various materials and be placed and marked in bags identifying where they were discovered. .

An archeologist can work in museums, parks, historic sites, public education, or manage exhibits. Others work in laboratories studying samples or at archaeology field sites. Often times archeologist are traveling all over the world and to certain geographical locations. Archeologist usually work full time and may work more than a traditional work schedule. At times they may work 7-10 days in a row consequently having to work on close deadlines or limited permits. Work hours in the field usually start in early mornings and end at noon, especially in hot climates. A technician or assistant may work in the evening processing data that has been found throughout the day. Archaeologists have a slow growth rate therefore employment opportunities are limited and can very be competitive.


Archeology Magazine (Online)

Archeology Online Magazine at is a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. You can get the latest news on archeology here.

Educator Resources

There is a pdf guide to teaching Archeology for Grades 3-12 on the website. This electronic booklet supported by funds from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service, Archaeological Assistance Division, and the Society for American Archeology. They also have an educator resource page you may find extremely useful.

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