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Archaeometrist

Determine the age of ancient artifacts.

What does an Archaeometrist do?

An important artifact has just been dug up from an ancient burial site in an exotic location, but how do the excavators know how old it is, or even if it’s an authentic piece? The answer: An Archaeometrist. An Archaeometrist is an expert at finding out how long things have been on the Earth. In other words, they’re a true master of the mystery of time!

If you’re an Archaeometrist, like an Archaeologist or Paleontologist, you work directly with fossils and artifacts, but your specialty lets you learn things about bones and bits of pottery that other Scientists can only guess. You use radiocarbon and amino acid dating to discover the true age of a specimen. Much of this process takes place in a lab where you can examine the radioactive decay of the carbon atoms that were once a part of living things. A seed stuck in the clay of a pot can be all it takes to learn which century it belongs in.

Where you want your office to be located is completely up to you. If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, and can’t wait to pack up and travel around the world, then you’ll enjoy fieldwork and being present on dig sites. But if you prefer a quieter, more relaxed setting, you’ll always find work in a lab or museum where new findings are shipped every day.

Then again, your talents don’t necessarily have to be applied to eras as far back as the Stone Age. Even art produced in the last couple hundred years may need to be authenticated. Your ability to date canvas, paint, and graphite could mean the difference between a long-lost da Vinci and a complete fake.