How Much Archaeologists Make (USA, 2012, Senior Positions)

Posted on January 29, 2013

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This is the forth part (part 1 on field tech pay can be found herepart 2 here (crew chief), part three- project manager) of the yearly review of how much archaeologists make in the US.

Without sounding like a broken record:

  • again, apologies to Canada, not enough data to include you
  • This is a snap shot of the whole field, individual jobs or employers could pay widely different ranges of pay
  • There is a regional difference with those in the Eastern US earning less than those in the West, on average. Again, see point 2.
  • Private sector only jobs in CRM, government and other jobs will be dealt with in other posts.

This post specifically deals with senior positions (top dog), though still employed by others so not owners or very very senior archaeologists in CRM. 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.

In 2012, the average low pay was $30.65 and the average high was $39.27 per hour. That is not bad. That is roughly $63,000 to $82,000 annual pay, mind you this comes after decades of working. The highest listed was $85,000.

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.
59 posts were examined and 4 had information on pay. The raw data can be accessed at tDAR here. In essence, this is a small sample size and all of the problems associated with that. Overall, job posting data tends to be fairly accurate when it comes to showing the general trends in pay.

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