What Does an Archaeologist Do?

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Archaeologists examine the past through remnants and artifacts to analyze the way in which earlier humans or cultures lived, according to the National Park Service. Archaeologists work in a variety of environments and for diverse employers, including universities, museums and the government.

According to the National Park Service field, archaeologists use a specific method to find the clues to prior cultures. Archaeologists study a specific group or region to understand what to look for during excavation. A team of archaeologists meticulously dig at a site, which involves a long process of cataloging items and insuring the care of items. Archaeologists also teach at universities and conduct academic research, according to the Society for American Archaeology. Other archaeologists provide factual information for museum exhibits and examine items for display in exhibits. Archaeologists for the government provide information on sites that the government wants to use. Many archaeologists in the private sector work in “cultural resource management,” according to the Society for American Archaeology. These archaeologists help companies adhere to laws regarding excavation and preservation as well as educate others on company findings.

Concentrations in archaeology direct the career focus, according to the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. These fields include forensic archaeology, Latin American archaeology and environmental archaeology.