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Help for a newcomer please

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:11 pm
by johnw

I've recently become interested in archaeology and I had the idea that after lockdown ends I would really love to volunteer at an excavation. Does anyone know if this is a "thing"?

I have no archaeological experience or qualifications other than having read some non-academic books and watched a lot of documentaries. So I realise it may be that serious excavations would not want me, but I thought perhaps there would be a role for an amateur to simply help out with any tasks that don't require special skills. I am 31 and have a bachelors degree in social anthropology.

I looked into field schools but these seem like commercial ventures quite far removed from what professional fieldwork would look like. I'm happy to pay if necessary, but my real interest is in observing/participating in the life of a genuine archaeological "season".

Thanks in advance for any help or pointers. If I'm being a complete idiot, feel free to say so!

Re: Help for a newcomer please

Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:37 pm
by Minimalist
You're right that serious excavations sponsored by national antiquities authorities like those of Egypt or Israel would probably want some bona fides for anyone working on the sites. At the very least, students enrolled in such problems.

You might try contacting the head of local colleges/universities that have an archaeology department and see if they can use an extra hand who wants to learn. That's one way to gain some experience which could then be used later on.

Re: Help for a newcomer please

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:06 pm
by johnw
Thanks, that's good to know and definitely a helpful suggestion!

Re: Help for a newcomer please

Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:10 pm
by circumspice
On the other hand, if you are located in an area that has mandatory oversight by an archaeological authority prior to any construction, you could possibly participate in an exploratory excavation. Or perhaps you could participate in the emergency recovery of an endangered site.

Your b.a. in social anthropology should prepare you for the contentious & sometimes viciously competitive nature of researchers that is rife in the fields of archaeology & physical anthropology. It ain't all sweetness & light. They have their own agenda & they can be quite protective of it.