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What does an archaeologist study?

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Quick Answer

An archaeologist studies the origin and development of humans in the ancient and recent past, generally through the study of material remains. Archaeologists also study the behavior of humans and their culture and language.

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According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, archaeologists made a median of $57,420 in 2012, which is an average of around $27.61 per hour. A master's degree or doctorate degree in archaeology or anthropology is required to break into the field. Those people holding a bachelor's degree can often find work as an assistant to an archaeologist. There were around 7,200 jobs for archaeologists in 2012, and the field is growing faster than average, with an expected 19 percent increase in jobs for archaeologists by 2022.

The work environment for the archaeologist varies. While most work in an office, some archaeologists work in the field or in laboratories. Jobs for archaeologists are generally at universities and other institutes of higher learning, research facilities and museums, although there are also government and corporate jobs available.

This field is well-suited to those who like to travel, since archaeologists are often required to travel to different areas of the world and stay for extended time periods on archaeological digs.

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