Do You Want to Become a Traveling Archaeologist?

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When you think of careers where you can travel, archaeologist might not be the first one that comes to mind. You might think that archaeologists are confined to one spot, digging until they find something nobody has seen before. However, there are archaeologists who follow both their passions of digging up fossils and traveling the world.

According to the Society for American Archaeology, professional are employed by federal and state government agencies, museums and historic sites, colleges and universities, and engineering firms with cultural resource management divisions. Some archaeologists work as consultants or form their own companies.

As for whether they travel or not, it depends. Maureen Malloy, SAA Public Education Manager, writes, “archaeologists whose research areas are not near where they live [and] may travel regularly, as funding permits, to conduct surveys or excavations.  Many archaeologists, however, are in jobs that do not require much travel. This is true for some jobs in federal and state government, museums, parks and historic sites—jobs that involve managing collections or public programs or education.”

Other archaeologists travel but within a confined geographic area. For example, an archaeologist who manages projects for a large engineering firm may travel within a several hundred mile radius as needed by the company, depending on the projects that are active at the moment, but may spend much of his or her time in the lab and office doing analysis and writing reports and other publications. All professional archaeologists spend much more of their time involved in these other tasks than they do in the field.

Interested in learning more about being a traveling archaeologist? Check out this blog, Habits of a Travelling Archeaologist,” by and about Smiti, an archaeologist who has done a variety of archaeological work in many countries including Hungary, India, Ethiopia, Oman, France, etc. and has lived in the U.K., Germany and Greece. Her blog combines her profession with her love for travel, gaining insight on how you can combine both.

She also offers nine habits of having a successful career, including these two:

Travel Smartly: Travelling can be exciting, overwhelming, chaotic, life-changing, and a whole host of other adjectives at the same time. Still, we can be smart about it.

Keep Learning: As archaeologists, we are trying to figure out what was going on in the past. Trust me, there was a lot happening and in order to attempt to figure out what was going on, we need to know a bit about everything. Since most of us don’t know it all, we need to keep the learning going.

How much can you expect to make as an archaeologist? According to, the average salary for an archaeologist is $50,284 per year. How much you make depends on your experience, of course.

The Bureau of Labor Services predicts that the profession of archaeology and anthropology will grow by 4 percent between 2014 and 2024. The U.S. News & World Report ranks an archaeology career as #8 in best science jobs.

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