Archaeologist

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

Average salary (a year)

£17,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends flexibly

How to become an archaeologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

University

Most professional archaeologists have a degree, and many also have a postgraduate qualification.

You can do degree courses in archaeology, as well as those specialising in different aspects of the work, like:

  • conservation
  • environmental archaeology
  • human evolution
  • forensic investigation
  • archaeological science

You can search for courses on British Archaeological Jobs and Resources.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do an archaeological specialist degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship

More information

Volunteering and experience

Competition for courses and jobs is very strong, It's essential that you get practical experience.

Local and regional archaeological associations often have programmes of field activities that you can join. You'll find details of volunteering opportunities through the Council for British Archaeology.

More information

Career tips

Experience and qualifications in computer aided design (CAD), illustration and geographical information systems (GIS) can be helpful.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists for professional development training and networking opportunities.

Further information

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • 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
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in an office or in a museum.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an archaeologist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

An Introduction to Archaeology

  • Provider: WORKERS EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION (WEA)
  • Start date: 24 January 2020
  • Location: Chichester

Archaeology Of Medieval Britain

  • Provider: Adult Learning
  • Start date: 26 September 2019
  • Location: Northampton

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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