How To Forge A Career In Archaeology? Scope & Opportunities

By Shatavisha Chakravorty

When a person says that their career is in ruins, we usually feel bad for them. We take it for granted that they are going through a low phase in their professional life. However, if we take the sentence literally we will see that things look bright. Archaeology is a field where there is immense potential for growth. Needless to say, this is what makes archaeology one of the most preferred career choices for hundreds of students every year.

 

It is important for us to realise that human beings have a natural tendency to connect with their roots. This is what has bound us to our traditions and made our culture and family values amongst the most respected in the world. Now, what happens if we want to go deeper?

How To Forge A Career In Archaeology

That is when the job of archaeologists come into the picture. Needless to say they play a pivotal role in bringing facts to the notice of historians and in turn pave the way for mankind to know more about where we came from. This article talks about how you can carve your professional success story in this field.

• Educational Background And Courses To Be Taken

In order to be an archaeologist, one has to start off with a three-year BSc course in archaeology. Generally students with a science background are preferred for this. However, students from the humanities are also eligible for this course. Once a student has completed this particular course, they can go ahead and pursue MSc or MPhil in this field.

If you want to be an advisor to any international development agency, doing just this will not suffice. You will have to have a PhD degree in some specialised branch of archaeology. For those who are interested in pursuing a career in archaeology, but are doing their bachelor's degree in some other field (like history), a worthy option would be to opt for elective papers that relate to archaeology and simultaneously pursue diploma courses related to archaeology in their free time.

Although people with a proper background in archaeology have an edge over these people, if you are dedicated enough you can actually make a successful career out of archaeology even here.

• Job Prospects

Broadly speaking, an archaeologist can hope to get a job in any one of the three major areas, viz., work in museums, research-oriented jobs and teaching jobs. Most museum based jobs are government jobs and the salary structure at such places is better as compared to many other places.

Teaching jobs may be both in private and government sectors, depending on the type of organisation that you work for. You may choose to teach at the undergraduate level or that of the postgraduate level depending on your qualifications.

Organisations like the Archaeological Survey of India and the Planning Commission employ archaeologists in research-oriented roles. If you are keen on working with international organisations, you can look for job opportunities with UNESCO or UNICEF as those organisations are the ones that require the service of archaeologists.

Other than these three major areas of work of an archaeologist, organisations like WHO, ICMR and police departments (like CID and CBI) employ archaeologist for the purpose of crime detection and investigation. Thus, if you are interested, you can consider pursuing a career in this field.

• Pay Package

The initial salary in this field is pretty less as compared to that of other professions. Here the starting salary is something close to Rs 8000 to Rs 12000 per month. However, the job satisfaction in this field is higher than that of others.

Speaking in monetary terms, there are a number of funds and grants coming along from national and international organisations in an endeavour to foster archaeological research and know more about the history of mankind.

In such a situation, there is immense competition amongst researchers in this field to get hold of the grants. Thus, if you are really passionate in carrying out a career in archaeology and carving a notch for yourself, you must be prepared for the monetary consequences as well.

Over the years as you establish yourself in the profession, money will also start flowing in. However, you need to be patient enough to wait for this day and passionately work your way towards it.

• Work Life

If you want to step into the world of archaeology, you must be ready for hard work. Archaeologists who are employed with government and international agencies work for 40+ hours a week. Needless to say, things like this will take a toll on your personal life unless you are smart enough to work out a balance.

If you are in a field project, the challenges are even greater. You may have to work under unfavourable climatic conditions for long periods of time. If you are a teacher of professor in this field, you may actually have to take on many additional responsibilities apart from the regular teaching roles.

This includes publishing papers, conducting practical sessions and taking students out on archaeological excursions. However, in spite of the hectic work life of archaeologists, the job satisfaction in this field makes it one of the most favourable career options for today's youth.

• The Perks Of A Career In Archaeology

One of the biggest perks of working in this field is that you get to travel a lot. Irrespective of which of the three career lines you choose after obtaining a degree in archaeology, you will end up travelling to new places in pursuit of knowledge. This will ensure that you never really get bored of what you do.

The places that your work will take you to will give you new experiences that will in fact make your life more enriching. After all, it is only in the knowledge of our past that we can envision the future of mankind.

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