October 28, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Mary Ann Owoc: -Knowledge of archaeological field methods and the completion of a 5-6 wk archaeological field training course and related archaeological field experience
-Completion of artifact analysis course containing hands-on experience (e.g., lithics, ceramics, fabric/basketry, or historic artifacts)
-Knowledge of soils and sediments
-Familiarity with database use and management (e.g., Microsoft Excel or Access or other),
-Training/experience in laboratory curation and artifact collections work/management;
-GIS and related software familiarity
-Total Station familiarity
-Section 106 familiarity
-Project Management experience
Mary Ann Owoc: -Working well with others,
-Being adaptable to changing situations and locations,
-Being comfortable working outdoors and in variable weather,
-Attention to detail/accuracy,
-Legible, detailed writing
-Ability to perform sometimes tedious tasks without becoming careless
Mary Ann Owoc: -Knowledge of and experience with shovel and trowel excavation techniques
-Ability to excavate a shovel test probe
-Ability to shovel scrape soils/sediments
-Spatial and directional acuity
-Ability to accurately use measuring devices
-Field map making
-Soil and sediment recognition and descriptions
-Relevant (to the project) artifact recognition
-Detailed artifact analysis knowledge/ experience
Mary Ann Owoc: -Familiarity with Section 106 legislation and processes governing protection/examination of archaeological sites
-Ability to write a knowledgeable and competitive proposal and budget for an archaeological project
-Ability to write well
-Ability to do research
-Ability to supervise a field crew on an archaeological project
-In-depth knowledge of geomorphology, soils, and sediments
-GIS training and experience and related software knowledge
-Operational knowledge of remote sensing equipment and related software
-Detailed artifact analysis knowledge/experience
University of Missouri - Columbia
Classics, Archaeology, and Religion Department
Emma Buckingham: I'd say it depends on the focus and course of study, but all archaeology students should be equipped with critical thinking skills and an ability to interpret evidence that can oftentimes be conflicting or fragmentary. Some students might choose to approach the evidence from a data-driven approach, and so data analysis, databases, and knowledge of statistical techniques will equip them with an arsenal to interpret the archaeological record and help fill in any gaps that exist. Others might choose to focus more on spatial analysis, using GIS to map sites, log contextual information, create distribution maps, and determine possible locations for further analysis. Some choose a more materials science-driven route, using scientific methodologies and geological knowledge to analyze the physical and chemical components of artifacts, soils, and organic objects such as bones. And finally, for archaeologists with more of a background in typologies -- figuring out how styles and forms of objects and buildings change over time and from place to place -- a necessary skill is an attention to detail and patterns, as well as good visual memory.
Skills in linguistics are important for all archaeologists to be able to interpret ancient written texts and to read literature published in a number of different modern languages, as well as to communicate with locals in communities where fieldwork is being conducted.
Dr. Donn R. Grenda Ph.D.: Most Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firms require new graduates to have a degree in anthropology with an archaeology concentration and to have completed a field school. Skills beyond those requirements are usually unrelated to archaeology and include the ability to get along with others on the team, working hard, driving work trucks, showing up to work on time, and taking good notes.
Dr. Donn R. Grenda Ph.D.: Technological change is impacting fieldwork and data processing. Drones are having an increasing impact on mapping archaeological sites, and advances in GIS and databases are increasing our ability to understand/analyze the data we gather. Mobile work platforms are also eliminating most of the paper field forms.