Archaeology is a multidisciplinary study involving the analysis of materials and artefacts created, used and left by earlier human civilisations. An interest in archaeology features good prospects for employment as archaeology is increasing in popularity and transcends borders, nations, languages, cultures, as well as social and economic differences among people.
The most effective way to enter the world of archaeology is simply to discover what options for involvement are offered in your own part of the world. Look for a local archaeology or history club or society, government organizations, local administrations, or universities. Connecting with others currently in the field and those interested in it is a fun way to get involved and start to network. You will find a variety of discussions, campaigns, courses and programs on offer almost every week somewhere in the world, maybe even right down the street from you. Additionally you will also get dozens of possibilities each and every year to get professional guidance in archaeological strategies and techniques through the participation in fieldwork. Many of these events cost nothing; even those programs that require fees are usually not too expensive.
Meeting some experienced archaeologists and others interested in the field is a direct approach to get involved in archaeology. A great place to start will be the Department of Archaeology or History of your nearby university. They usually organize events or workshops on archaeology where visitor scholars are invited. These events are usually announced and advertised on the department’s website. Attending these events and listening the lectures of the experts influence can get you excited about your decision to pursue this field and strengthen your conviction that it’s the right choice for you. Meeting others in the field is also fun, and networking is always helpful.
Being the place that many people discover the field and their interest in it, many informative documentaries, TV shows and online videos can provide a sufficient background introduction to increase your knowledge of the subject. The majority of these presentations do a fantastic job of familiarizing the viewers with some basic concepts, approaches and guidelines which are the foundations of archaeology.
There are a variety of excellent archaeology periodicals available online and in book stores. Current World Archaeology and Current Archaeology may be a good starting point. Some introductory books written on the origins, fundamentals, and implementation of archaeology can also provide you with the basics of this field.
Archaeologists are friendly people and they encourage others to be interested in the field and pursue it as a career. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them; they enjoy talking about their profession. Be warm and friendly and visit the archaeologists working in your nearby site if possible. Ask for their advice. It may not be possible for them to guide you, but they are likely to introduce you to some other people who can possibly help. The Department of Archaeology or History at your nearby university may be a reliable source to start with.
If you are thinking about more than just a casual involvement in archaeology and perhaps going after a profession as an archaeologist, the following five strategies might be particularly useful for you:
Have an understanding of the outcomes of a professional archaeologist at the early stages. Be realistic and speak to your family about your aspirations and the lifestyle you are going to choose. When you reach a decision, start working on a plan of what you actually need to do to get going in your career.
A skilled career in archaeology begins at a university. Without graduating in archaeology you are impairing your prospects of getting a job in this discipline and developing your career. So ask about the requirements that are needed to get into an archaeology course, decide on what university you would like to study at and then apply for admission.
Professional archaeologists have multiple skills and expertise, which, like any job, makes them most adaptable to changes that inevitably will happen in their position or field. If you are planning a career switch take inventory of your own skills and expertise and, based on your knowledge of the field, find ways they can be applied to an Archaeologist position.
Beyond developing your skills and expertise, career oriented archaeologists volunteer as a way to become an expert, be seen as friendly and helpful, trustworthy, and be known within their community as someone others like to worth with. The most skilled archaeologists may serve on regional or central archaeological organizations committees, editing journals, writing reviews on books and research, and arranging events as well as symposia. Each of these various volunteer activities are noted on their resumes to identify them as the qualified professionals.
Don’t be bothered or even discouraged if at first something you discover in the field turns out to be nothing. Difficulty and frustration comes with this lifestyle. If you can’t cope with the occasional frustrations that come with the job, like rejections for jobs or book proposals, this is probably not the right fit for you. Always figure out how to accept constructive criticism; it is a large field and there is always something to learn from others. When you have a bad day at work, like any other profession, you need to get a good night’s sleep, shake it off, and know that tomorrow is a fresh day to begin again.
The job of an archaeologist is to investigate earlier human cultures by survey, identification, and excavation of historical sites. Developing a successful, challenging and stimulating career in archaeology is possible for anyone regardless of where they are from in the world, if they are determined and willing to keep up their curiosity in this discipline. Following the above steps will give you a rounded, wide-ranging base to explore your interest in Archaeology and develop the skills necessary to pursue a career in the field.