If you want to move about continually without a stable house, a family, rent, or many of the other solid aspects that most people consider vital in life, then becoming an archaeologist is absolutely worth it. There are several different fields within archaeology, so if you're interested in doing research on ancient civilizations, learning more about our own history, or just having some incredible adventures, this is a good career choice for you.
Archaeologists use scientific techniques to study the past. We examine materials such as bones, antiques, and artifacts to determine what kind of society created them, how long ago they were made, and who may have owned them. Much information about our ancestors is lost forever due to the destructive nature of humans throughout history, so archaeologists must rely on the evidence that remains from before the beginning of written record.
Because there is no single event that can be traced back to the beginning of human history, archaeologists must rely on evidence found in the world around us that can be tied to humans at some point in time. Scientists theorize about what happened before we started making written records, but can't prove their ideas because there is no way to recreate conditions from thousands of years ago. So archaeologists look for patterns in the material culture (things people make and do) of different societies. They try to understand why some cultures built things one way while others built them differently.
Archaeology may be a rewarding vocation, but it is not well compensated, and there are many challenges in life. Many elements of the job, however, are engaging, thanks in part to the thrilling discoveries that might be discovered. Archaeologists work on sites all over the world, exploring relics from every era, including those still under the surface of the earth.
There are several branches of archaeology. There are physical scientists who study the remains of animals and plants that have been preserved by natural processes or buried by man. They try to learn about past people's lives from their physical environment by making measurements of things like climate and soil conditions at the sites they visit. In addition, there are historians who study historical documents and other sources to determine what life was like in different times and places. They try to understand how people lived through the use of evidence such as letters, books, and paintings. Last, there are linguists who study languages to discover clues about ancient peoples' lifestyles from the words they used. They do this by comparing modern languages with each other and with ancient forms of language found in texts.
Archaeology is a broad profession that involves research, data analysis, site reporting, and resource management among others. It can be done anywhere there are institutions dedicated to preserving history - museums, universities, government agencies - or even your own backyard!
The following are some of the advantages of a profession in archaeology:
It's not simple to be an archaeologist. There isn't one. There is no painless method to achieve success. It is a personal decision to become a cultural resource management archaeologist. What that means is that you will work with archaeologists on projects to determine what historical resources are involved, then manage those resources by removing them from danger or preserving them for others to see.
Cultural resource managers must have a bachelor's degree in anthropology, history, geography, or science with a concentration in archaeology. They need to pass a rigorous exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. After graduation, they can expect to spend several years in full-time employment while building their experience and earning their salary.
Cultural resource management is a growing field. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that by 2018, there will be about 500 job openings for archaeologists. That's better than other related fields like conservation biology or museum curation which each need about three timesas many archaeologists.
The number of women who become archaeologists is far lower than men. Only about 15% of archaeologists are women. Reasons why women don't join this field include wanting to work on high profile projects and being interested in living in different countries.
The abilities you'll gain while studying archaeology can be used to a range of careers. You'll learn analytical skills, reasoning skills, practical skills, how to operate within or as the leader of a team, and much more. If you study archaeology, the world may be your oyster.
Archaeologists use scientific methods to investigate past human cultures to discover their activities and changes over time. We construct theories about how things worked back then, and what they used for medicine, tools, etc.. Archaeologists also search for evidence that helps us understand why people lived how they did at different times and in different places. Finally, we try to determine the age of materials that have been found preserved in the ground or in objects. This is most often done by measuring radioactive elements inside the material which decay at known rates away from their source. Archaeologists need to be aware of contemporary issues and trends in our field so that we don't miss important information about the past.
Archaeology is a broad discipline that covers many different fields of study. As an archaeologist, you could work on ancient artifacts, sites, structures, or buildings; excavations (the process of digging up soil or rock to expose more artifacts); surveys of proposed construction projects like building malls or housing developments to make sure that no existing items will be damaged during this process; research studies of pre-existing data like written documents or archaeological reports; or even control of invasive species.