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Archaeologists study how people lived in the past by studying the buildings, settlements and objects they left behind. They may specialise in particular geographical areas, historical periods or types of objects, such as pottery or coins. They may also carry out work relating to local authority planning.

The Work

You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates vary, depending on:

Archaeologists are not highly paid. Starting salaries for site assistants is around £18,000 a year. Experienced archaeologists earn between £28,000 and £32,000. Senior archaeologists can earn higher salaries, but there are comparatively few posts.

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA), the professional body for archaeology, recommends starting and minimum salary levels for professionals. These vary depending on the level of qualifications and responsibility needed for the job and are based on the grade of CIfA membership held by the archaeologist. There are three grades of membership - Practitioner, Associate and Member. From April 2022, the CIfA recommends the following minimum annual salary levels:


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

You could work for a range of organisations including: Historic Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, local authorities, museums, universities, National Parks, the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission and the Highways Agency. Others work for small, independent units or are self-employed as consultants.

What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You need to be:


Getting On

More Information


Courtesy of Careersbox


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA)
Tel: 0118 966 2841
Twitter: @InstituteArch

Council for British Archaeology (CBA)
Tel: 01904 671417
Twitter: @archaeologyuk

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Career Sectors

Culture and Heritage

Libraries and Information Science

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