Fish fossil

Archaeological Technician

Getting involved with archaeological investigations

How this role makes a difference

Archaeologists discover all kinds of items that can tell us about how people lived and worked in the past. Tools can reveal the metals that were available and how things were built. Clothing can tell us about available materials and cultural traditions. Bones can tell us about people’s diets and health.

An archaeological dig is an intricate process that involves setting a grid, gently excavating soil and stones, and making a record of any changes to the soil as you dig down. Nowadays, it also involves a range of technology, including 3D scanners. Any finds are recorded and analysed to see what they reveal about the past. You could be the technician who finds a unique historical artefact that helps to piece together how our ancestors lived.

Useful skills
Attention to detail
Useful skills
Useful skills
Problem solving
Useful skills
Critical thinking
Useful skills
Communicating complex ideas
Useful skills
Technologically minded

The kind of work you’ll do

  • Carrying out surveys
  • Participating in excavations
  • Recording discoveries
  • Completing post-excavation analysis
  • Producing publications
  • Labelling, bagging and cataloguing artefacts
  • Processing and sorting environmental samples
  • Archiving materials, records and digital data

What you can bring to the role

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Average salary per year *
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Average salary per month *

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*according to ONS

Future career opportunities

Your career could begin in a wide range of organisations, including private companies that need to understand sites before building starts, or charities, museums or universities involved in archaeological research.

You may find you prefer lab research or decide that you want to spend most of your time on digs. You can apply for roles on digs taking place all over the world and could eventually lead a dig yourself.

How to get into this role

There’s no perfect career path or ideal way into your dream job. But if you're interested in education and training options that could be relevant to this role, you might want to consider:  

Schools and colleges each have their own career guidance plan and can provide detailed information, advice, and guidance on options and next steps.

A little more about the role

Exciting features...

Your archaeological career could take you to many parts of the world, as well as all over the UK. You could be commissioned to excavate sites before permission is given to build on them, or you could even be interviewed for the news when an exciting new artefact is discovered. As well as working on a dig, you have the option of carrying out lab work, completing the analysis of important finds.

Other job titles...

This role can also be known by some other job titles including:

Site Assistant
Archaeological Fieldwork Technician
Finds Processor
Finds Technician
Finds Assistant
Environmental Processor
Environmental Technician

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