So You Want To Be An Archaeologist?
The Many Roads To The Past - Academia, Commercial, Amateur
One question I get asked a lot is ‘how do I get into archaeology?’. Often from younger men who are interested in specific time periods like the Eurasian Bronze Age, ancient Greece or something similar. I thought I’d write a bonus piece for my subscribers about the different paths and routes one can take into archaeology, either as an amateur or professional. My disclaimer here is that I know the British archaeological system better than anywhere else, and there are many differences across countries and continents.
People don’t often realise that amateur archaeologists are a major resource to the profession. Metal-detectorists, archivists, local groups or even just muscle on an excavation. Stepping from this into the professional world is another matter, and typically people specialise either in a particular material (pottery, flint), method (use-wear, genetics) or time period (Lower Palaeolithic, early Islamic). Within these there are niche sub-fields of course, looking at coins, wood, pollen, linguistics, astronomy, animals and so on. More abstract academics also define their fields by adherence or development of new theories and paradigms (post-processualism, New Materialism etc), which build bodies of knowledge and thought over time.
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