Undergraduate studies

Finally, you feel you are getting somewhere! The university you have chosen offers courses in archaeology. Here are a few to consider:

If you have enrolled in an archaeology program:
Try to take courses with different professors. Other than some are completely dull and others utterly fascinating, professors will have different approaches of their subject and you should expose yourself to as many different approaches as possible. (You might also want to pick a different university at which to pursue graduate studies.)
Example: One professor might focus on the chemical composition of clay used in a specific ceramic type, while another may study the spatial distribution of these same ceramics to understand trade patterns at a given historical period. Same archaeological material, different approaches…

NOTE: Find out if your department offers summer field school or hands-on courses at a museum. An archaeologist’s training includes more than a pile of old, smelly books; it is necessary to have as much field experience as possible to have a well-rounded education.

NOTE: Get a subscription to an archaeology magazine or a membership with an archaeological association. That way, you will be informed of the discoveries and the advancements in your field of study. Attend conferences if you can afford it. It is a great way to meet scholars, to network, and to tell people that you exist and you are good at what you do.

If you have enrolled in a science program:
Archaeology is a field that is becoming more and more scientific. You may want to take an archaeology course to see if you would enjoy combining two of your favourite subjects (science and archaeology) and become a hyper-specialised archaeologist or a scientist who works with artefacts and ecofacts.

Example: Combine archaeology and botany – archaeobotanists study vegetal remains, seeds and grains found in archaeological contexts. Their studies enhance the knowledge of ancient peoples and their way of life – what they ate, what they cultivated and what they traded.

NOTE: Anthropology and archaeology departments sometimes have research laboratories. Why not contact the professor in charge and see if they offer special training sessions or need a research assistant?

Students enrolled in other humanities programs:
Combining archaeology and other interest in humanities is also possible. Artists, architects, historians or linguists who have developed an interest in archaeology and specific ancient cultures are sometimes hired by archaeological teams. Artists will make drawings and plans that will be published in the site report. Linguists will translate the inscriptions while art historians will study the reliefs, paintings, sculptures and decoration found on site. Architects often specialise in restoration of ancient buildings.

Archaeology is a multidisciplinary field and archaeologists rely on other specialists’ expertise – scientist or scholar – and you can always offer your services to dig directors if you think they might need your knowledge.

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