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Archaeology is the scientific and orderly study of human cultures through the recovery, analysis and documentation of material remains and environmental data, like artifacts, seals, inscriptions, monuments, edifices, landscapes and bio-facts. Most of archaeologists in India work in the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in its exploration, excavation, epigraphy, pre-history and museum branches (for these jobs, the ASI diploma is a must) for the conservation and maintenance of the 3,600 centrally protected sites and monuments, chemical preservation of antiquarian remains and the organization and maintenance of site museum, and publications among other things.

Career Opportunities in Archaeology

  • Numismatists
    Numismatics is the study of currency, i.e. coins, banknotes, or money as an exchange object in some other form like beads, tokens, and related objects. It also has numerous specialization like Exonumia (Study of Coin), Notaphily (Study of paper money) and Scripophily (study of stocks or bond).
  • Epigraphists
    Epigraphy is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs as writing involving identifying graphemes, clarifying their meanings, classifying their uses according to dates and cultural contexts, and drawing conclusions about the writing and the writers. Thus, it has an artistic value of literary composition which aims to understand the purpose, style, political, religious and cultural traditions of the symbols of the inscriptions.
  • Archivist
    Archivists acquire, manage and maintain documents and other materials that have historical importance for individuals, organizations and nations. They work with paper documents, photographs, maps, films, and computer record projects describing or preserving a body of records.
  • Museologist
    Museology, or museum studies the art of studying museums, museum curation, and how museums developed into their institutional role in education in the context of social and political forces. Museologist also maintain the record of each item - the origin, age and conservation details.
  • Heritage and Environment Management
    Heritage management is a growing field that is concerned with the identification, protection, and stewardship of cultural heritage in the public interest whereas the environment management is concerned about the protection of natural resources and historic buildings.
  • Ethno Archaeology
    Application of modern day ethnological or anthropological data on past societies to gain an insight into them.

How to Become an Archaeologist

Stream Graduation After Graduation After Post Graduation
path 1
Clear Class XII with any streamPursue B.A. / B.Sc. in any field or Archaeology for 3 yearsPursue M.A Archaeology/ Ancient Indian History and Archaeology/ Museology/ Conservation, Preservation and Heritage Management for 2 yearsM.Phil in History/ Archaeology for 2 years or/and Ph.D. for 3-4 years
path 2
Clear Class XII with any streamPursue B.A. / B.Sc. in any field or Archaeology for 3 yearsPursue Post-Graduate Diploma in Archaeology and Museology for 1-2 years -

Important Facts

  • Most college have eligibility criteria of minimum 50% aggregate marks in Class XII.
  • BA. Archeology, M.A. Archaeology and post graduate diploma in Archeology is available as a course only in selected colleges.
  • No mandatory subject in Class XII.
  • Most of the institutes for post-graduation require bachelors in History and related subjects.
  • For Lectureship in Archaeology, National Educational Test (NET) or Ph.D is mandatory.
  • Most Colleges/Institutes provide admission on the basis of Class 12th Percentage. Some institutes also conduct interviews.

Leading Institutes

Top Archaeology Institutes in India
College Location Website
Institute of Archaeology Delhi
Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology (Banaras Hindu University) Varanasi
The Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University) New Delhi
School of Archival Studies (National Archives of India) New Delhi
Department of History and Archaeology (Karnatak University) Dharwad
Faculty of Arts (Maharaj Sayajirao University of Baroda) Vadodara
School of Historical Studies (University of Madras) Chennai
St. Xavier's College (Mumbai University) Mumbai
Union Christian College (Mahatma Gandhi University) Aluva, Kerala
Centre For Extra Mural Studies, University of Mumbai Maharashtra
Department of Ancient History, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University Uttar Pradesh
Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Utkal University Odisha
IGNOU, Department of Archeology Delhi
Department of Ancient Indian History Culture & Archaeology, Kurukshetra University Haryana
Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta West Bengal
Department of History, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University Uttarakhand
Faculty of Manuscriptology, Tamil University Thanjavur Tamil Nadu
Faculty of Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Gujarat
Top Archaeology Institutes in the World
Institution Location Website
University of Cambridge United Kingdom
University of Oxford United Kingdom
University College London United Kingdom
Harvard University United States
Durham University United Kingdom
University of California, Berkeley United States
Australian National University Australia
Stanford University United States
University of Michigan United States
Leidan University Netherlands
University of Toronto Canada

Work Description

  • Examine sites using a variety of methods, including field walking, geophysical surveys and aerial photography
  • Work on field excavations or digs, usually as part of a team, using a range of digging equipment
  • Project manage an excavation, including managing teams of diggers
  • Record sites using drawings, detailed notes and photography
  • Analyze findings by grouping, identifying and classifying them
  • Use computer applications, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and geographical information systems (GIS) to record and interpret finds, sites and landscapes
  • Carry out research and desk-based assessments of sites
  • Provide advice on the conservation or records of archaeological remains
  • Ensure that important buildings, monuments and sites are protected and preserved
  • Generate publicity materials and publish articles about research, site interpretations or excavations

Pros & Cons of a Career in Archaeology

  • Multiple opportunities to travel to different places
  • Opportunity to contribute to Culture and History
  • Increasing demand for archaeologists
  • Tedious work and long working hours
  • Requires a lot of patience and need to stay away from home for long periods
  • Limited Institutions in India offer jobs
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