A few months ago I published a post “What Does it Take to Get that Archaeology Job?- Field Techs” in which I looked at what requirements are listed on job postings (US only) on the website shovelbums. This investigation was only for the year 2010. I decided to go back and look at trends over a longer period of time (1999-2010) for a few of the requirements listed. The below figure shows the % of job advertisements that mention the requirement (out of those that mention any requirements):
For the most part, the requirements have stayed the same over the years with minor fluctuations. The exception to this is the increased emphasis on field schools and regional experience. A greater emphasis on practical skills that come from a field school is not surprising but that it has picked up in the last decade and not sooner is of interest. It might just be that the data source is causing this fluctuation.
Of greater interest is that there has been an increase in requiring archaeology technicians to have local/regional experience. Again, this could be the data source but if it is not then we are starting to see the specialization regionally of field techs. This has not hit above 50% yet, but it could be the beginning of the end of shovelbumming from coast to coast. Time will tell.