Archaeology is the study of uncovering the roots of Human Civilization by investigating artifacts left behind by previous civilizations. Most people picture archaeologists digging up the earth with tools around them, but archaeology is much more than that.It has several branches, some of the more prominent ones are listed below. It is important to understand these branches before pursuing archaeology as a career path in India.
- Historic Archaeology – This branch deals with discovering and analyzing ancient artifacts, such as items used in everyday life of people in different civilizations; Household Utensils, Jewelry, Musical or Medical equipment, etc.
- Maritime Archaeology – The discovery of the lost city of Thonis- Heracleion, discovery of wrecked ships such as the Titanic are a few interesting examples of maritime archaeology. It tries to uncover the interaction of earlier humans with marine bodies.
- Urban Archaeology – It deals with understanding the plans and maps of historical cities in order to determine their importance as well as predict what artifacts they may find while digging such locations. This branch has helped us in understanding the great planning and structural facets of great cities such as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.
- Epigraphy – This branch of archaeology deals with identifying and analyzing inscriptions on documents, artifacts or stones in order to draw conclusions about their writers, their culture, and their historical importance.
- Museology – It deals with organizing, preserving, and restoring museums as well as museum curacy. This segment of archaeology focuses on giving meaning to our existence through the display and preservation of historical artifacts. It is the route through which society understands its history.
What to Study and Skills required to become an Archaeologist
To pursue archaeology as a career, it is advisable to opt for Humanities in Class 11th and 12th. Subjects such as History, Anthropology, and Sociology, etc. build a solid foundation for a career in archaeology. A bachelor’s degree in Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology or History, and a master’s degree in Archaeology and Historical Studies is required to qualify and work as an Archaeologist. A Ph.D. provides better opportunities, and better pay. It opens up avenues in areas of research, academics and higher level positions in the Archaeological Survey of India.
Students who do not have (or did not opt for) humanities, and still want to pursue archaeology, can easily opt for humanities as a subject to major in. It is advisable to check for eligibility and curriculum of colleges, as every college has different criteria.
Archaeologists have an immense interest in one’s history and heritage, in preserving one’s roots, and a thirst to discover more. Apart from this, an observant mind, a knack for research, attention to detail, and being patient and resilient are all qualities that an archaeologist should possess.
Institutes providing Courses in Archaeology
A bachelor’s and master’s degree in Archaeology is necessary to work as an Archaeologist in India. A Ph.D. is required to work as an academician in Universities/Colleges.
Here are a few institutes providing bachelors in Archaeology:
- Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
- Barkathullah Vishwa Vidyalaya, Bhopal
- Maharaj Sayajirao University of Baroda
These are a few top institutes providing masters’ in Archaeology:
- The Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management, New Delhi
- University of Kerala, Thiruvanthapuram
- Bangalore University, Bangalore
- Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi
Courses offered in most universities range from Archaeology and Museology to Ancient History and Heritage Management.
Scope in India
India is home to some of the most well-planned ancient cities as well as historical monuments, etched on its map as a result of great dynasties such as The Mughals, The Mauryas, The Sultans, and the likes. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) functions to protect and restore these historical monuments. and is responsible for all the archaeological activities that take place in the country. The ASI has different branches such as Excavation, Prehistory, Underwater Archaeology, Museums, Temple Survey, etc. and employs a large number of trained archaeologists, epigraphists, conservators, and scientists for its operations. Other organizations such as Indian Council of Historical Research, National Museum, Private and Public Museums, and Universities are major recruiters of Archaeologists.
Career Opportunities as an Archaeologist
Archaeology has often captivated our minds. Understanding our history, where we came from, how the world has evolved over a span of hundreds of years, is something that allures almost everyone. A few of them are listed below:
- Deputy Superintendent Archaeologist – Students with a Master’s degree in Archaeology/Indian History/Anthropology/Geology/Language can work with the Archeological Survey of India as a Deputy Superintending Archaeologist. ASI recruits students with a master’s degree archaeological studies. Aspiring students need to clear an exam conducted by the UPSC for this post. The pay-scale for these posts is INR 15,600-39,100.
- Teaching – Post-Graduates in Archaeology can pursue lectureship in various universities and colleges. For this, one needs to appear for UGC-Net examination in the concerned subject. The pay-scale for lecturers is INR 15,600-39,100. One can also apply for Junior Research Fellow posts by clearing the UGC-JRF examination. The remuneration for JRF is INR 25,000 per month.
- Museum Preservation – Archaeologists can work in private as well as public museums, for preserving and safekeeping historical museum artifacts. The remuneration varies from INR 20,000-40,000 depending upon one’s experience and knowledge.
- Site Excavation and Preservation – Archaeologists can also indulge in national and international projects to travel to locations of archaeological importance. These projects are funded by domestic as well as international organizations for preserving, discovering and decrypting ancient artifacts and documents.
The remuneration can vary depending upon the scale of project and the investment in the project.
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