Archaeological Technician

Help Archaeologists survey, map, and excavate cultural sites.

What does an Archaeological Technician do?

As an Archaeological Technician, or Field Archaeologist, you’re a Field Technician who’s hired to assist Archaeologists by being their “hands” in the field.

If you’re a fan of the History Channel, you’ve probably got a mental picture of an archaeological dig. In that picture is likely a small city of tents and trucks erected beside ruins in a desert, in a jungle, or on a mountainside, where an Archaeologist is hunched over an exciting artifact, scrutinizing it for historical meaning. What you might not notice, however, is the flurry of activity in the background. Not the “dig,” but rather the “digging,” which typically is done by Archaeological Technicians.

It’s simple: Archaeologists study and analyze artifacts once they’re found; it’s your job to help find them. As a result, your duties typically include surveying, mapping, and excavating archaeological sites. Using a combination of interviews, aerial photographs, reference materials, and technical instruments, you search areas of proposed projects for evidence of historic and prehistoric remains. When you find evidence — and also when you don’t — you mark it on a map and create a report for the supervising Archaeologist so that he or she can decide whether or not to dig.

If the dig proceeds, you help excavate artifacts, then wash, sort, and process them in a lab, where Archaeologists do the bulk of their work examining and interpreting objects. Ultimately, it’s lot like the relationship between an Architect and a Construction Worker. The Archaeologist, like the Architect, is the brains; the Archaeological Technician, like the Construction Worker, is the brawn!