How Much Archaeologists Make (USA, 2012, Project Manager)

Posted on January 21, 2013

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This is the third part (part 1 on field tech pay can be found here, part 2 here) of the yearly review of how much archaeologists make in the US (again, apologies to Canada, not enough data to include you). This post deals with the position of project manager, aka project office, aka Principle Investigator, aka manager, etc (basically, your middle management person, they run most crews and projects but not the top management). You can see past data for them here.

The data is based off of job postings on the websites archaeologyfieldwork.com and shovelbums.org. Methodology is discussed below e.g. possible flaws in the data, specifics on how the data was gathered, etc. This is only for private sector archaeologists, government based jobs will be dealt with in another post.

In 2012, the average starting pay was $21.65 per hour. The average high pay was $28.78.  The total lowest pay offered was $14.90 (field techs make this much) and the highest was $38.46 (field techs dream of making this much). The average are follow a pretty steady trend upwards for the last decade (data from same source, see below):

Pay for CRM in the US for archaeology project managers.

Pay for CRM in the US for archaeology project managers.

Methodology:

My data comes from the job postings on the websites Shovelbums.org yahoo group and Archaeologyfieldwork.com, duplicate posts between the two and multiple postings of the same job were eliminated. However, it is hard to determine how many posting are just rolling calls to create lists of potential employees and job specific. Posting that were from the same company, posted less than two months apart, and listed the same requirements were eliminated as duplicates. However, if similar posts were advertised several months apart they were counted as different jobs on the assumption that after several months positions would have been filled and this is a new call for employees (even for the same project). Even if the job posting was for multiple jobs they are only counted as a single data point as most job postings do not list the number of openings. Because of the lack of standard names for this position requirements and duties were used to define this post, not names.
198 posts were examined and 21 had information on pay. The raw data can be accessed at tDAR here.

Key Points to Remember: 

  1. This is a snap shot of the whole field, individual jobs or employers could pay widely different ranges of pay. However, this is a good portrait of the average pay.
  2. There is a regional difference with those in the Eastern US earning less than those in the West, on average. Again, see point 1.
  3. Some of these positions are temporary. Though by the time you reach this pay scale the majority will be permanent.
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