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Archaeology Fieldwork Interview

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Archaeology Fieldwork Interview

The following interview was completed to fulfill a request from an old friend for one of his university projects.

I have completed 7 seasons (2-4 months a year) of professional archaeology fieldwork in North America as well as stints on Copan in Honduras and on a Monteno site on the Manabi coast of Ecuador.
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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Bangor, Maine, USA- November 30, 2008
Travelogue Travel Photos
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What skills and attributes make you good at your job?

Being able to wake up in the morning and not coming to work too drunk. These are probably the biggest skills you need to keep yourself employed in archaeology. This sounds simple, but there are a lot of people who are not able to do these two things. Also, being able to work together with a group of people and not complaining are needed skills. It has become apparent that most employers know that anybody can learn the trade of the archaeologist, what sets you apart are the more basic skills of being a good, reliable person. These skills are the hardest to learn. If you are able to get to work on time, do your job without complaining, and get along with the crew you will probably find employment in archaeology pretty easily regardless of how much knowledge or schooling you have.

Shovelbums.org
– the main database for finding Archaeology fieldwork.

What kind of schooling did you need to get where you are today?

I completed an archaeology field school with Florida Atlantic University in Ecuador and just about have a B.A. Degree in Ethnographic Journalism from the Friends World Program of Long Island University. A degree and a fieldschool are two credentials are pretty much requirements for finding employment in archaeology. Though you can do professional work on the strength of a field school, some university education, and experience alone. For the first eight seasons that I worked in archaeology I did not have a B.A. degree.

For more information on obtaining an education in archaeology go to these pages-
Archaeology Field School
Archaeology Education and Work

What type of people do you work with daily?

Nut cases. Seriously, perhaps due to the nature of the work archaeologists tend to be interesting characters. Putting them together in a crew and sending them out to the woods is a recipe for disaster. Many disasters happen on archaeology projects. I could not ask for a better cast of characters to work with.

What kind of places do you get to travel to?

I have traveled and worked in around 20 states of the USA doing archaeology as well as a season at Copan in Honduras, and my field school was on the coast of Ecuador. Doing archaeology fieldwork is a good way to travel.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the job at the end of the day?

My favorite part is being outside all day long and traveling. I like being paid to travel and and being given a hotel room and food money. What I do not like is the fact that I have done this work for so long. I have recently move on to other professions, though always keep the thought of doing fieldwork in my sack of possibilities for making up the bean money to travel.

Photo of archaeology project in USA.

Related Pages:
Archaeology Field School– Question about how to enroll in an archaeology field school and fieldwork as a way to travel while making money to travel.
Archaeology Education and Work– How to get into doing archaeology fieldwork while traveling to make money for travel.
How to Become an Archaeologist?– Advice on how to get into professional archaeology fieldwork.

Guatemala- How to get to Tikal Guatemala
Guatemala- Travel Work Skills
Honduras- Mayan Archaeology at Copan
Costa Rica- Archaeology Fieldwork in Nicaragua and Copan
USA- The Archaeology
USA- Owego, NY
How to Find Work while Traveling

Links to previous travelogue entries:

  • Rites of Travel Website Construction
  • Jet Blue Good Airline
  • Can Cultures be Wrong Debate

Archaeology Fieldwork Interview

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Filed under: Archaeology, Interviews, USA, Work

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Cincinnati, Ohio, USAMap