What is the most money I can make as an archaeologists? In the United States most archaeologists work in the private sector known as Cultural Resource Management (CRM), there are some public sector CRM archaeologists but this doesn’t talk about them. I have already posted how much Field Techs and Crew Chiefs (a senior field tech positions) make. Also, I have talked about how much middle management positions make. This deals with the top positions in the private sector usually referred to as principal investigators or senior archaeologists. The data is from job postings on the website shovelbums. The data presents the average starting pay and highest pay offered, along with the average mid-point between the two. Also, the lowest pay and the highest pay mention for each year is included. Here is a breakdown in advertised pay ($ per hr.) in the US from 2001-2010.
$24.12 roughly equals $50,000 a year in pay. Most senior archaeologists, in the private sector, will be looking at starting around $40,000-45,000 and could go as high $80,000. If you want to know what it takes to get a job like this see here.
A survey by ACRA found that the average pay for senior archaeologists was $30.58 per hr in 2008. This puts the average pay in the range of per year $63,000. It also found ranges of $16-99? per hr. ($33,000-200,000?).
A range of $50,000-60,000 between the two data sources is a good estimate of top pay for senior archaeologists.
Beyond Senior Archaeologists there are several other positions that an archaeologist can have. If the company an archaeologists works for is large enough the could be a division or group manager which makes on average $38.21 ($80,000 a year) according to the ACRA survey. Above that, one could own a company and make on average $43.43 ($90,000) or go as high as $160 ($330,000). The down side to owning a company means you could also be making as little $10 an hour.
As always, these are averages so extremes such as making over $300,000 or less than $20,000 is unlikely for most senior archaeologists.