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Classical Archaeology

Most of the information given above, concerning outlook, requirements, qualifications, and procedures, applies equally to archaeologists as well as to classicists. Remember that the placement service described above is a joint venture of the APA and the AIA.  But do note that increasingly some Classical archaeologists are obtaining their PhDs through Anthropology departments.  The advice given here is most apt for those who have obtained their PhD through departments of Classics.

"You will or will not get rich financially because you studied the Classics, but your soul will be forever changed."
–Classical Civilization Major, Now In Business

Job prospects for classical archaeologists might initially appear somewhat more limited than for philologists since there are fewer pure Classical archaeology programs than language-based programs. However, with a bit of flexibility, individuals trained in Classical Archaeology with peripheral interests in art history, history, or anthropology find employment in departments specializing in these areas. The most important job skill for an archaeologist is often the ability to anticipate novel ways that this particular means of studying the past can be put to use in any number of traditional academic disciplines. Of course, a solid background in ancient history, Greek and Latin languages, literature or ancient art history can help a potential job candidate demonstrate an ability to navigate across traditional disciplinary lines.

Some field experience is desirable and some portion of graduate training should occur abroad at venues such as a dig, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens or the American Academy in Rome. Membership in the Archaeological Institute of America (AlA) is expected.   An excellent tool for students wishing to gain field experience is the AIA's "Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin"(  This contains a list of fieldwork opportunities (often as a volunteer) as well as field schools and staff positions on excavations.

The AIA also has a helpful page with tips for the job candidate.  Read it carefully at  Note that it has many links to job placement services in allied fields such as museum curatorship and art history.

Classical archaeologists whose interests include ancient art may find it useful to join the College Art Association of America ( The CAA provides a Placement Service, which includes:  listings of positions at colleges, universities, and museums; maintenance of a file containing candidates' resumés; and facilities for interviews at the CAA's annual meeting, held in the last week of February.

Classical archaeologists interested in museum work should include in their graduate studies a course in museum methods. Be sure to coordinate with someone who is active in museum work and try to include an internship in your experience.  Some museum jobs are advertised in the APA/AIA Positions for Classicists and Archaeologists and in the job listings of the CAA. It is also possible to apply directly to curators of museums. Note the following useful sources: 

Another burgeoning and often lucrative area where degrees in archaeology are of particular use in finding employment is in Cultural Resource Management. This emerging field involves training across the skill sets of archaeological field training, materials conservation, historical preservation and legal expertise. Both Federal and State governments employ large numbers of archaeologists to control and administer archaeological sites and help protect historically significant architecture and landscapes. Moreover, a great number of private Cultural Resource Management companies have formed in the past several decades, offering similar employment opportunities to traditionally trained archaeologists in every region of the country.

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