As an archaeologist you can work in museums, in academia as a professor, or as a consultant in Heritage Management (called CRM in the US) depending on your academic credentials and field experience. My aim is to earn my PhD and to combine museum work with teaching at a University. So how does one become an Archaeologist?
Everyone’s path into Archaeology is different and a lot depends on what your ultimate goals in Archaeology are. To achieve my personal goals in archaeology, I attended a community college in Southern California where I studied Anthropology and participated in the MCAP (Moorpark College Archaeological Program) which gave me lots of hands on experience early on. There I participated in Excavation, Survey, and Lab work. While I was at University, I also got a job at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles where I met many experts in the fields of both Archaeology and Paleontology. This helped me to gain a better perspective of what the day to day life of archaeologists in different roles actually looks like.
Once I graduated with my AA in Anthropology, I continued my studies at California State University Long Beach where I earned my BA in Anthropology. I continued to gain practical experience and technical skills by taking courses in cultural heritage management, where I was learned laws that impact CRM in California, how to map and survey using Trimple and GPR, how to use Mass Spectrometry to date MesoAmerican pottery, and was part of a salvage archaeology project in order to facilitate a Tongva reburial.
For my next step, I made the decision to study abroad. This step is not for everyone and ideally you should study Archaeology in an area that you intend to later work in (i.e., If you live in California you want to do Archaeology based in California or Central and South America). I wanted to learn more about European Archaeology so I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland and earned my MSc in Archaeology. Ironically, while in Scotland I was given the opportunity to study Egyptian Animal Mummies so my research is based in Egypt but I’ve also done field work in the Scottish Highlands.
What are some of your own goals and experiences in Archaeology?