5 reasons you’ll dig an archaeology career

Ever wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones? This is one career dream that doesn’t have to lie in ruins. Hang onto your hat, Indy – here are five reasons to dive right in!

Forget the office. Camp under the stars

For most archaeologists, huge amounts of time are spent with their team in the great outdoors. You’ll be walking for miles, digging for hours, getting muddy and loving every second of it, because you were the kid coming home with scrapes and bruises from all your adventures. You could even find yourself underwater if you have a diving qualification. Plus you’ll get to experience all the joys of camping under the stars, especially when you do fieldwork experience!

Follow your passion(s)

There are so many types of archaeology out there. Here are just a few to think about:

  • Prehistoric (you guessed it, dinosaurs)
  • Roman
  • Medieval
  • Heritage
  • Industrial
  • Environmental
  • Forensic (think skeletons)

Once you’ve got the skills and experience, you can really follow your passion.

Archaeology is more hi-tech than you might think

Archaeology isn’t just you and a shovel. You can specialise in all kinds of weird and wonderful technical skills, from illustration and surveying to geo-physics, GIS, artefact identification and loads more.

You don’t need a degree

One of the first things you’ll think of when someone says “archaeology” is professor Indiana Jones PhD leaving his university lecture to go on an adventure, stopping only to pick up his trusty hat and bullwhip.

Nowadays there are plenty of alternative routes into an archaeology career. You can opt for vocational courses like an NVQ in archaeological practice, which you can study from level 1 (entry level) to level 4 (experienced professional).

The entry requirements for NVQs are based on fieldwork experience. A great way to build this up is to enrol in field schools and get volunteering!

Archaeology means you can make a difference

Archaeology can mean saving cultural heritage for people to enjoy and learn from for centuries to come. When you get involved with uber-modern projects like HS2, the UK’s mega high speed railway, you’ll be helping to pave the way for the future... while unearthing and protecting the treasures of the past.

3 top job hunting tips from HS2 archaeology and heritage topic lead Helen Glass

  1. Look at a range of websites regularly. I found my two career defining roles by chance, when I was not actively job seeking.
  2. If you are interested in archaeology and heritage roles, also look at town planning, environmental and engineering consultancies.
  3. As an employer, I will want to know what you did in a particular role and what you learned from it. On your CV, don’t just describe the overall project. Be specific about your contribution.
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