Archaeology Jobs and Job Conditions (UK)

This Page has moved to a new location, actually new Website. It contains: lots of information on job conditions, wages, etc.; some of the raw data that this information is based on; and some tools for figuring out pay.

25 Responses “Archaeology Jobs and Job Conditions (UK)” →
  1. Hi, Doug–would you be able to offer any advice on good places to look for excavator work in the UK? I’ve recently found myself in the position of needing to start my life over from scratch and am seriously considering moving to the UK to do it. I have a degree in history with a minor in anthropology and took all three archaeology courses my university had to offer (I was very lucky that Field Techniques in Archaeology was offered while I was there, so I do have a little field experience). I’d thought to pursue a museum career but it’s turned out to be near-impossible, and I’ve always loved archaeology, so thought finding a job as a digger might be easier. However, all the job searches I’ve run so far have only turned up supervisory or higher position. Help and advice would be extremely appreciated.

  2. Hello I wonder if you could give me some advice, I have recently studied Fdsc Field Archaeology and will finish my BA Roman Archaeology course next month, I have about 4 months experience of digging mainly abroad in Cyprus,Finland but also on filed schools at Silchester and the Durotriges project. I have been considering what to do next, I have heard you cannot get a job unless you have an MA is this true and if it is is there any other way I can get a arch job without an MA. Any help would be appreciated.


    • Hi Jay,

      Can you be a little more specific about what sort of job in archaeology you would like? For many jobs you can absolutely get jobs with a BA or none at all (rare but it happens), Though some jobs an MA helps. Can you give me an idea of what you are looking at?

  3. Thanks for the quick reply I was considering becoming an excavator or supervisor? although my main interest is Roman Archaeology I would imagine I would need to specialise if I wanted to go into a Roman related area. I have about 4 months of experience not sure if this would be enough?.

    • Well, you will start out as an excavator but you can work your way up to supervisor pretty quick. You DO NOT need a MA for commercial archaeology work at all. Though you have to be willing to travel.

      Do you have a drivers license?
      Do you have your safety card?
      Are you willing to travel?

      Yes, you will have to specialize to do just Roman archaeology but give commercial archaeology ago for a little while. Find out if you like it or not. It will also expose you to a very wide range of archaeology and you might find a different interest.

      If you want to do just Roman archaeology that will be tough most specialists, non-academic, work freelance but the work is not steady so they usually have a part time job somewhere else.

      What does your CV look like. Send it to me and I will give you some pointers on it. drocks.macqueen at gmail . com

  4. Hi Doug

    I stumbled upon your site whilst researching UK archaeology jobs and was wondering if you could spare me 5 minutes of your time.
    I completed a BA with a major in Archaeology in 2011 and have since completed a post-graduate certificate in Archaeology. I currently live in Australia but am a British citizen and would like some advice on finding archaeology work in the UK. Basically, I have some experience (gained in South Africa and Australia) but know I would have to start at the bottom (which is fine by me as working in British archaeology is my dream so happy to do anything and I mean anything in the archaeological field). I would love to come over early next year (2014). Prior to studying archaeology, I worked in the IT and communications sector and hold a 3 year higher Diploma in Communication Science and Public Relations.

    History was always my passion but I sadly got sidetracked for a few years after high school.
    I am prepared to take any archaeology work anywhere I can in the UK so am very flexible in this regard. I also have a drivers licence and don’t mind travelling.

    In case you are wondering, I am 36, married and have a little boy (18 months old). My wife is a nurse so finding work for her is relatively easy. I would just need to be able to earn enough initially to get by with the basics.

    Sorry for the long-winded post! Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.



    • Hi Craig

      Just to give you a heads up- archaeology work at the bottom is very poor pay. You are looking at about 16k annually, probably less. It is also very hard on family life as travel is not like drive a few miles, it can be go stay in another town for 6 weeks. Just to give you a heads up it can be very brutal on marriages.

      If you are still interested- several things to do. Make sure you have a full British drivers license. Get a CSCS card. Send me your CV and I will have a look over it for you.

      Start sending out your CV before you get to the UK. Work comes in spurts- best to have your CV on file and in the calling queue before jobs start.

      Where in the UK are you looking to move? Location can help a lot with finding steady work. You say anywhere but it is best to find a place with lots of companies to work for. At the bottom you will be on 2-3week contracts and will have to work for multiple companies. Have you been to BAJR yet? –

      • Hi Doug

        Thanks very much for your reply – much appreciated.

        I suspected pay would be low at the bottom but we all have to start somewhere and I would just be ecstatic at this point to get any kind of paid work. As for the distances and travel involved, we are used to that from living in Australia where nothing is near anything else! Believe it or not, we are discussing purchasing a camper van and staying in camp sites near to wherever I can get site work (eliminating the whole having to have a specific location to move to and also family time apart – also allows for flexibility to take jobs anywhere they turn up). I just need to get that first job and hopefully more will follow. Determined? Yes! Crazy? Perhaps…….. So yes, very interested in doing this! The eventual plan is to rack up enough experience and hopefully secure full time employment in the field somewhere down the line.
        Unfortunately jobs here in Australia are few and far between and even getting unpaid volunteer work is difficult. Basically I’m sitting with a degree and postgrad studies and can’t do a thing with them.

        Thanks for the link to the BAJR site – very handy. I will send you my CV (just need to give it a bit of a going over in the next day or two as I have not updated it in a while).

        Again, thank you very much for your reply and advice.



  5. Hi Doug! My name is George. I have a long experience as an archaeologist and supervisor in big excavations in Greece but I have never been given the opportunity to take part in excavations in another country.

    I hold a degree of History and Archaeology and a diving diploma (Advanced Open Water Diver).

    I am interested in working in UK and I would really appreciate it if you could give me some essential guidelines that could help me to find a position as an archaeologist in your country.

    Could you give me some advice? I would really appreciate any help!

    • Hi George

      First are you a Greek citizen? Or a citizen of a EU country? Hugely important. Second- it is best to talk through email. My email is on the side of this page. If you drop me an email that would be best.


  6. Hello Dug,
    I’m an italian Archaeologist, I’ve got Bachelor in Archaeology
    110/110 with distinction (corresponding to First Hons.). and
    i have about 12 years of field experience. I wish to relocate me and my family abroad. Can you give me good advice on good site to find out vacancies suitable? Can you also give me such an idea of how much can an archaeologist earn to live in Uk?
    thanks in advance




    February 19, 2014

    Dear Doug, I’m indonesian and I just graduated as bachelor of archaeology in University of Indonesia. I don’t have experienced in excavation but I am more confident and interested to working in museum. I made a thesis about exhibition in museum for disabled visitors. Please help me to find a job tht related to it since Indonesia is not supporting this condition in their museums. Thank you


  8. Tiberiu Nica

    January 2, 2015

    Hello Doug,
    I am an romanian Archaeologist, with 15 years of experience in both commercial and extensive archaeology in Romania and Germany, and an MD. Due to some family problems (my 4 mounths son has a cardiac malformation which can only be surgically treated in London) I had to came to London. We will be at hospital at least this mounth, and will try to move in England in more permanent basis. Can you give me some advice about getting a paid work in UK, at any level.
    Tiberiu Nica

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