Four cutting-edge career paths for Archaeology graduates

What’s the first thing you think of when somebody mentions ‘archaeology’? Is it cutting-edge technology? Maybe it’s an exciting career at the forefront of global development?

Or…is it visions of dusty Indiana Jones wannabes digging old broken pots up?

Indiana Jones GIF

While archaeology relies on spadework, there are several career paths for the tech-savvy graduate.

Here are a few examples:

Commercial archaeologist

Commercial archaeology involves evaluating land that’s intended for commercial development. Sites are assessed to determine their historical value before planning permission is granted.

Tech-savvy archaeologists mix traditional methods with new innovations. Drones, 3D imaging software, geophysics and LIDAR can all play a part in a commercial archaeologist’s work.
Female archaeologist using survey equipment
From surveying the route of HS2 to assessing the site of a new sporting arena, an archaeology degree can put you right in the planning stage of the world’s most innovative structures.

Archaeological illustrator

Traditionally, archaeological illustrators use pencils and ink to depict finds, plans and reconstructions for record-keeping purposes.

Illustrators now also use the latest digital tools to realistically recreate finds and site maps in 3D, collaborate with colleagues, and share breakthroughs online.

Archaeological illustration using graphic software

An archaeology degree and professional graphic software skills can help your career as an archaeological illustrator get off the ground.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) officer

State-of-the-art Geographical Information Systems are used to analyse, manipulate and present spatial data in maps and 3D scenes.

GIS officers use these systems to monitor, plan and manage land in a range of situations. GIS usage can range from town planning to farming, earthquake assessment to crime analysis. GIS can be used by archaeologists to pinpoint the location of sites of interest, by processing existing data and landscape information.

Four separate layers in a GIS

A grounding in archaeology combined with computing, mathematical or geographical skills can open up an exciting GIS career.

Public Archaeologist

This fairly new phenomenon aims to connect archaeology with the public.

Archaeologist talking about finds with members of the publicCrowdfunded projects, crowdsourced teams, live-streamed digs, virtual artefact displays and online training are all ways in which passionate, tech-savvy archaeologists are taking their discipline to a wider audience.

Bradford archaeology graduate Brendon Wilkins co-founded Dig Ventures in 2012. Brendon and his colleagues carried out the world’s first crowdfunded and crowdsourced excavation. The growing team has since performed hundreds of digs, organised a physical and virtual archaeology festival, developed the world’s first open-access digital archaeological recording system, launched an online course and shared live details of their finds via social media.

If you love technology, community and history, public archaeology could be the route for you.

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