career repository


By on July 10, 2017

The toddler that felt most at home in the sand pit, the kid who swished his paint brush across grains of sand instead of the white of paper-probably is a born archaeologist. The child that sat transfixed on her bed as she saw Indiana Jones unearth precious artifacts- stars in her eyes as she curiously enquired about the fact behind the fiction, while other young ones jumped to mirror the flying punches of the actor on screen, may relate to this career more. In reality if you generally get intellectual kick from the supposed hidden reality in a movie that commercialized real kicks-the archaeology career is probably meant for you.

Let us start from the start. The word archeology is derived from two Greek words 'archaios' which means ancient things and 'logos' which means theory of science. Cunningham is considered as the father of Indian history and Archaeology, who established the Archaeological Survey of India in 1862 for the maintenance, conservation and preservation of centrally protected monuments and archaeological sites across the country. Archaeology is a multidisciplinary science which draws help from geography, history, anthropology, chemistry, geology, art and literature. It is also regarded as one of the four branches of Anthropology, which is the study of the physical and social characteristics of humanity. The cultural and social events of the past have been relived through archeological studies. Archaeological studies or inputs are considered important in issues such as environmental conservation, urban societies, town planning etc. These discoveries involve a variety of field techniques and laboratory procedures.

You need to know also archaeology is different from history. The difference is pivotal for basic understanding of the subject. And also, you will be answering this for a long time-to family, friends, relatives and neighbors, even to strangers who will envision you either buried deep in a library, or somewhere in remote Africa digging away to glory-a weird cross between History channel and the National Geographic.

There is indeed common ground. History and archaeology both study ancient people and things. Specifically, historians study older documents and artifacts and create an interpretation of the past for the public. Archaeologists excavate artifacts that both the archaeologists and historians study. So the subject matter is related but they do so through different viewpoints-Archaeologists are more concerned with the physical evidence as historians rely more on documentary evidence to support their work.

Although every youth aiming to clue to the past of humankind to link it to the path of our future-career in archaeology is waiting for them, one needs to understand the intricacy of the career before taking final decision.  Archaeology is best suited career for explorers aiming to discover a part of history and culture long lost in the dust of time. You can really discover Sherlock within you to get yourself some clues. The main activities of an Archaeologist include preliminary fieldwork, excavation of sites and periodical classification of them as well as dating and interpretation of materials so excavated. The professionals in this field probe into the past and define earlier civilizations. The research findings are preserved and maintained for present and future learning. Modern archaeologists have access to scientific techniques of carbon dating of artifacts and the use of DNA analysis.

Educational Route 

Those who want to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Archaeology should have studied history as a subject in 10+2.For post graduate degree or post graduate diploma courses in archaeology one should have completed his/her graduation in any discipline. However, graduates in social sciences like sociology, history, anthropology are given a preference. The students who possess a degree in Geology or classical languages can also apply for the course. The students who opt for a course in Archaeology have to study the following subjects:-Application of Science in Archaeology, Principles and Methods of Archaeology, Protohistory, Prehistory, Historical Archaeology, Architecture Museology, Structural Conservation of Ancient Monuments, Epigraphy and Numismatics, Chemical Preservation of Monuments and Antiquities, However to become a successful archaeologist it is essential to possess excellent communication skills and knowledge in the concerned specialisation. Attention to detail, knack for understanding and interpreting three dimensional spatial data and at ease to applying statistical and mathematical techniques would help you to grow faster in this filed.

Delhi University is a popular choice among students. It provides a good infrastructure, great faculty and peers. Admissions are usually on the basis on the score of the Board examination.

Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi offers 2-year Master’s level course in Archaeology and Heritage Management. Eligibility is at least Graduation. Admissions are made on the basis of your CET score and performance in an Entrance test conducted by the University.

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi offers 2-year Masters Course in Arts- AIHGC and Archaeology. You should be a graduate with minimum percentage of marks. Admissions are made on the basis of your merit in the qualifying examination.

MS University of Baroda, Vadodara, Gujarat offers 1-year Ph.D. course in Archaeology, 2-year MA in Indian History, and Culture and Archaeology, and 3-year B.A. in Indian history, Culture and Archaeology. Admissions are made on the basis of your marks in the last examination.

Karnataka University, Dharwad, Karnataka offers 2-year MA course in History and Archaeology and a PG Diploma course in Archaeology and Museology. For both courses, you should be a graduate with minimum qualifying marks.

Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, Gujarat offers a 3-year Bachelors degree course in Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. You should have passed at least 10+2 with minimum qualifying marks. The university also offers a Ph.D. course in Archaeology. You should at least have a Master’s degree in your hand to apply for the course.

Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh offers 2-year M.A. course and a 1-year Ph.D. course in ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. For M.A. course, you should be a graduate, and for Ph.D. course, you should be a Master in History, Anthropology, Geology, Sociology, Archaeology, or any other related field.

Career Prospects

Archaeology is an interesting field for those of curious mind and brave hearts. It is perfectly viable and ever growing career option in India and is a stream that vies to look for bright minds. Since India has a rich culture and heritage, with a vivid geography splayed with colorful history, thus a well experienced archaeologist has a perpetual demand to work on variety of projects of archaeology in India.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the major recruiter for archaeologists in the country both at the centre as well as at the state levels. Archaeologist gets job by clearing examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission or Staff Selection Commission and also in private environment monitoring companies or in similar organizations. They get employment in Defense services, museums, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, cultural centers and historical division of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Archaeologist can also work as a tourist guide, interpreter, heritage manager, resource person of trip organizers in the tourism industry etc. After obtaining Doctoral degree or successfully clearing NET (National Eligibility Test) or SLET (State Level Eligibility Test) one can apply for lectureship in various universities/Institutes across the country. One can also opt for conducting research and even can seek employment in other disciplines as historians, linguists and surveyors. Curators and conservators are highly in demand in the country.

Archaeology graduates have great scope abroad for jobs as well as a researcher at various colleges and universities which are well furnished with various research programmes. There is also good scope for a Curators, heritage conservators, archivists or even as teachers.

Decide area of your interest, chart out an actionable plan for best educational route accordingly by choosing appropriate specialization and degree and ensure your success!

About - Itishree Misra

Dr. Itishree Misra is a Clinical Psychologist and a Career Counselor. She has close to 2 decades of experience in academia and industry. Dr. Misra has been recognized widely for her work in the field for education and psychometrics. She can be reached at