Academic Archaeologists in America- How Many are There?

Posted on February 13, 2012


It has taken a few months to do a head count of the academic archaeologists in the US but I have gone through the AAA e-guide and then personally through the websites of a little shy of 400 departments (anthroplogy/archaeology/other) (see full list here). Places were these numbers might be weak –

  • archaeologists in departments that don’t offer archaeology degrees/courses. This group is only listed on some websites, usually under the term archaeologists in other departments/organizations;
  • classics seems to be a bit underrepresented;
  • adjuncts or temporary staff are sometimes not listed or no details are given to determine if they are archaeologists or not.

On the flip side a pretty generous definition was used – that is a faculty profile mentions archaeology or archaeology-like interests e.g. lots of osteo people are included. Whether or not these people consider themselves archaeologists is not know. This probably equals out some of those missed.

I will be posting more details on each group over the next week but here are the general numbers:

  • Lectures/visiting profs/adjucts/researchers/post-docs (basically anyone who is not a tenure track academic)- 468
  • Assistant Professors-260
  • Associate Professors-344
  • Professors- 494
  • Archaeologists in other departments- 70

For a grand total of 1636 archaeologists employed at universities. This count tries to exclude CRM companies affiliated with/owned by universities but does include many of their staff who teach in an adjunct complicity. In all, around 1100 probably have steady employment but this is not know for sure as some positions, like researcher, might be permanent just non-teaching. This means roughly 2/3s of academic archaeologists are in tenure track positions but only about half actually have tenure. Archaeology does not appear to be worse off then some other disciplines that have more then half of their staff in temp. positions. How this relates to the number of PhD’s being produced for these positions is another story and one that will be explored over the next week.

One last note several archaeologists (mainly temporary positions) teach at more then one university but were only counted once.