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What does an Archaeologist do?

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Answered June 28 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
Most people’s understanding of archeology comes from films and television shows like Indiana Jones. Archaeologists are researchers, not adventurers, and they search for information as opposed to treasure. 

Archaeologists can work for governments, research organizations, universities, museums, or cultural resource management (CRM), companies. CRMs are private companies that specialize in the historic preservation of specific areas. They ensure that developers and construction companies comply with regulations surrounding archeological sites. They often have large budgets to use for new technology and consulting. Indeed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the primary employer of Archaeologists will be CRMs. Archaeologists are needed to aid companies in complying with historic preservation laws. 

An Archaeologist will usually split their time between fieldwork and research and analysis of data, aka deskwork. Fieldwork can occur anywhere in the world, and indeed one of the attractions of archeology is traveling to exciting places. Deskwork usually happens in an office or lab setting where the Archeologist studies the archaeological artifacts and builds datasets to draw scientific conclusions. Archaeologists also often write papers and books to present their findings. 

Roles & Responsibilities For An Archaeologist
  • Researching and surveying historical sites of ancient societies and cultures.
  • Collecting historical artifacts following procedures and using special tools to handle and preserve them (e.g., plastic bags, brushes, and special containers).
  • Marking artifacts to identify the exact place where they were found.
  • Recording the exact condition and location in which the artifacts were found using drawings and photographs.
  • Creating maps and topographic recordings of sites and historical locations.
  • Examining and analyzing recovered artifacts and data from surveys and excavations
  • Conducting historical and site research for possible future expeditions
  • Consulting with Historians, Geologists, Anthropologists, and Paleontologists to complement and contribute to historical and scientific research.
  • Writing, documenting, and presenting data findings in the forms of published papers, conferences, and symposiums to archaeological peers, the scientific community, and the public.
  • Assisting and counseling governments on conservation issues regarding archaeological sites by recommending preservation, resource management, and environmental impact reduction methods.
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