how to become an archaelogist

Archeology is a field that comprises both scientific and historic references. Archaeologists have uncovered some of the most important discoveries in human history.

This is an extremely unique job profile. In this article, we discuss how to become an Archaeologist in India, an archaeologist career in India, an archeology degree, salary, career prospects, etc. 

Who is an Archaeologist?

An Archeologist is a professional who studies and analyses human history to understand the evolution of human evolution.

They excavate and recover artifacts from ruins and historical places along with building ruins to unearth pottery, tools, or cave paintings.

Through research, Archeologists explain the evolution of the human species or civilization. They are responsible for some of the important discoveries in human history. 

Roles and Responsibilities of an Archaeologist

If you are wondering what an archaeologist does, the following are the roles and responsibilities of an archeologist in India:

  • Identify artifacts from excavation, analyze and date them.
  • Log and record data of artifacts and other discoveries found in dig sites.
  • Analyze data to arrive at logical conclusions about culture, behavior, and other aspects of the historic civilization.
  • Use modern Digital tools like Geopositioning Systems (GPS), Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to develop simulations from the ruins and assist in navigation.
  • Deploy and Utilize Aerial Photography to locate and analyze excavation sites.
  • Manage team during excavation
  • Clean, restore, and preserve archeological finds and artifacts
  • Research for any written evidence for the historical importance of the findings.
  • Log and maintain the inventory of artifacts
  • Create reports and documentation on the discoveries made during the excavation 
  • Compare findings with other findings from different dig sites to build connections to understand differences and similarities. 

Skills Required to Become an Archaeologist

  • Researching archives
  • Report preparation
  • Project management
  • Artifact analysis
  • Background research
  • Technical writing
  • Surveying and site analysis
  • Data management 
  • Navigational skills
  • Physical stamina
  • Ability to work in harsh conditions
  • Familiarity with GIS and GPS systems

Types of Archaeology

There are several types of Archaeologists requiring different and multiple specializations. Acheologelogists are classified into two categories depending on their line of work viz, on basis of the historic time periods and on the basis of the nature of work. 

On the basis of Historic time periods

Archaeology is divided into different specializations on the basis of historical time periods. The classification is created to ease the process of finding archaeological evidence of a particular era, dynasty, or region. 

  • Prehistoric Archaeology
  • Protohistoric Archaeology
  • Classical Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology
  • Medieval and Modern Archaeology

On the basis of the Nature of the Work

Based on the nature of the work involved in the data collection process and analysis, Archaeology is categorized into different types.

It depends on the location of the excavation or exploration and from the point of view, of an archaeologist who wants to interpret the history. Some of the popular categories of Archaeology are

  • Ethnoarchaeology
  • Environmental Archaeology
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Aviation Archaeology
  • Underwater Archaeology
  • Industrial Archaeology
  • Battlefield Archaeology
  • Aerial Archaeology
  • Salvage Archaeology
  • Experimental Archaeology
  • Forensic Archaeology

Eligibility to Become an Archaeologist

To become an Archaeologist in India, there are two academic options to follow. They are: 

From Arts stream

  • Completed 12th standard in Arts stream.
  • BA in History/History/Ancient History
  • MA in History and Archaeology

From Science Stream

  • Completed 12th standard in the Science stream
  • BA/B.Sc in Archaeology
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Archeology

How to Become an Archaeologist In India? A Step-by-Step Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming an Archaeologist in India:

  1. Complete 12th standard in the Arts stream.
  2. Enroll in an undergraduate program BA in History/Archaeology/Ancient history.
  3. After completing Bachelor’s program, one must pursue MA in Archaeology.
  4. Further, a Post Graduate Diploma in Archeology can be completed if necessary.
  5. Build expertise in certain subjects which will help in building an impressive resume.
  6. Apply to different institutions working in the field of Archaeology to secure employment. 

Career Opportunities for an Archaeologist

The career opportunities for an Archaeologist are limited to certain institutions generally backed by governments such as Public Universities, Archaeology related authorities, etc. In general Archaeologist work in

  • Excavation or dig sites of historical importance
  • Universities
  • Forensic laboratories
  • Historic museums
  • Research institutions

Salary of an Archaeologist in India

There are very less opportunities for Archaeologists in India and are mostly employed by the Government and Public institutions such as the Archaeological Survey of India, National Heritage agencies, Public Universities, the History Museum, etc.

The entry-level Archaeologist salary in India in public institutions is Rs.3.5L/annum when working in closed spaces. 

Depending upon subject expertise, field, and work experience, the salary can range up to Rs.18L/annum.

The average salary of an Archaeologist in India is Rs.9L/annum. A lot of factors decide the salary of an Archaeologist in India such as location, profile, scope of work, etc. 

Top Colleges for Archaeology In India

The majority of colleges offering Archeology related courses in India are public institutions and Universities. They are

  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
  • Shivaji University, Kolhapur
  • Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Bihar University, Patna
  • University of Mysuru, Mysuru
  • Jiwaji University, Gwalior
  • Guru Gobind Singh University, New Delhi
  • Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa
  • Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Nalanda

Pros and Cons of Being an Archaeologist

Pros of Becoming an Archaeologist

  • Travel to new and different locations
  • Less competition
  • Job security by employment in public institutions
  • Less tuition fee
  • Get to be part of history for discoveries

Cons of Becoming an Archaeologist

  • Need to work in harsh conditions
  • Irregular work hours
  • Highly stressful job
  • Need to be on the field most of the time


  1. Archaeology is the study of the human past and civilization using material remains and ruins. They use archaeological remains and artifacts such as pottery, paintings, hieroglyphics, tolls, clothes, etc. 
  2. Depending upon the nature of the work, Archaeologists are classified into different categories based on the subject of study to interpret its history.  
  3. The profession is not too hard nor too easy and can be boring and challenging at the same time. Archaeologists need to work in harsh conditions which can be stressful. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to Become an Archaeologist in India After the 12th Standard?

To become an Archaeologist in India after the 12th, one must enroll in an undergraduate BA program in History/Archaeology/Ancient History. 

2. Which Stream to Choose After the 10th Standard for Archaeologists?

It is best to choose the arts stream after the 10th standard to become an Archaeologist.

3. How to Get an Archaeologist License in India?

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the top authority in India for archaeology and related decisions.

After completing the academic program in Archaeology, candidates need to register with ASI for taking up work in the field. 

4. Do You Need to Take Arts to Become an Archaeologist?

Yes, taking arts after 10th standard will be helpful to become an Archaeologist. 

5. How Much do Archaeologists Earn in India?

Archaeologists in India earn up to Rs.18L/annum depending upon experience and subject expertise.

6. Do Archaeologists Have Scope in India?

There is high demand for Archaeologists in India with different subject expertise in government and public institutions. 

7. What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an Archaeologist?

An Archaeology aspirant must have post graduation MA in Archaeology or Post Graduate Diploma in Archaeology to become an Archaeologist.

These are the archeologists’ qualifications a person must have to become an archaeologist.

8. How Many Years Will it Take to be an Archaeologist?

Depending upon the academic approach, it takes 6-8 years to become an Archaeologist. 

9. Is it Hard to be an Archaeologist?

Becoming an Archeologist needs a lot of aptitude skills and research ability. It is easy in academics but gets hard after employment while working in different excavation sites. 

10. Does an Archaeologist Get Paid Well?

Archaeologists are paid well in India and they have job security as well. 

11. Do Archaeologists Work 9 to 5?

Generally, Archaeologist work in the field, and the job is not restricted to a time. 

12. Is Archaeology a Good Career?

Archaeology is a great career option and one can get to be part of history for their discoveries.  

13. What is the Difference Between Archaeologists and Historians?

An Archaeologist studies Archaeology using excavated finds and artifacts while historians study and write history. 

14. What Do Archaeologists Study?

An Archaeologist studies history related to past civilizations and the evolution of humans by excavating remains and ruins to understand ancient cultures. To know more about how to become an archaeologist in India go through the detailed article above.

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