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Archaeologist

Archaeologists learn about the past by studying sites and excavating, classifying, recording and preserving objects.

Potential salary

£17,000 to £40,000

Employment by 2024

+2.64%

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

  • an interest and knowledge of history
  • knowledge of sociology and anthropology for understanding society and culture
  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of geography
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your specialist area, but could include:

  • identifying possible sites to study using aerial photography, field-walking and surveying
  • taking part in excavations or digs
  • recording finds and sites using photography, detailed notes and drawings
  • identifying and classifying finds
  • cleaning and preserving finds in a laboratory
  • using laboratory analysis like carbon-dating
  • using computers to produce simulations of the way a site or artefact would have looked
  • preserving industrial artefacts and buildings
  • checking planning applications and identifying the impact of development on archaeological sites
  • making sure important sites, buildings and monuments are protected
  • classifying, displaying and looking after artefacts in a museum

You could work in an office or in a museum.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

You may find it useful to join a professional body like the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists.

With experience, you may be able to progress to a senior role like site supervisor or director.

You could also specialise in teaching or preservation.

You'll find more advice on how to become an archaeologist from the Council for British Archaeology.

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