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Anthropology is the study of human beings. There are
four broad fields within anthropology: cultural anthropology or ethnography,
archeology, physical anthropology, and linguistics. Cultural anthropology
is the study of human cultures in the present. Archeology is the study
of past human cultures through the analysis of material evidence left
behind. Physical anthropology is the study of biological behavior and
of human adaptations to the environment. Linguistics is the study of
human speech and its role in culture. By studying culture, objects,
the environment, and language anthropologists explore the relationship
between varying peoples, their cultures, and the physical world in which
they live. Anthropology allows us to understand how people and their
cultures are different or alike and how they have changed. Below are
a few resources with advice from professionals:
Careers in Historical Archaeology is a website maintained by the Society for Historical Archaeology; also look at “Is the Past In Your Future?” on the same site.
Careers in Anthropology is a web page maintained by the American Anthropological Association.
Frequently Asked Questions, by David Carlson, answers questions about a career in archeology in the United States.
Exploring the Possibilities—Cynthia Ann Bettison describes what life is like as an archeologist.
about Anthropology Careers (.pdf) are addressed by the National Association for
the Practice of Anthropology. The same organization has a video entitled "Anthropologists
at Work: Careers Making a Difference."
in Physical Anthropology is a web page maintained by the American
Association of Physical Anthropologists.
Although many anthropologists conduct research, work
on excavations, or teach at colleges, many others are involved in different
aspects of the discipline. Anthropologists in the United States work
in a range of settings, such as:
- Universities and colleges;
- Museums and historic sites;
- Government agencies at all levels including federal, tribal, state, and local;
- Engineering and Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firms;
- Historical societies; and
- Private foundations.
Here are a few sites to visit if you are looking for
a job in anthropology or archeology, or if you are curious about what
kinds of jobs are available.
Most anthropologists have college or university degrees
in anthropology. Archeologists working in the United States usually
have degrees in either anthropology or history. Archeologists working
on ancient civilizations of Greece or Rome, however, might have degrees
in ancient history or classics. A person with a bachelor's degree and
field experience can usually obtain work as field crew, while supervisory positions in government agencies,
museums, consulting firms, and teaching positions require a Masters
or Doctoral degree. Several resources exist to help individuals find
the right academic program.
The AAA Guide:
The American Anthropological Association publishes the most comprehensive list of academic departments. The AAA Guide describes community college, undergrad, and graduate anthropology departments including faculty specialties and ongoing research programs.
for Historical Archaeology:
The Society for Historical Archeology (SHA) maintains a list of academic programs offering education in historical and underwater archeology. Their list includes faculty specialties and program information.
If you are unsure what subfield of anthropology you are
interested in, or if anthropology is the right field for you, there
are many ways to become involved to get a better sense of what anthropologists
do. The following are just a few ways for you to become involved in anthropology
Join an anthropological or archeological society. Many
individuals find it rewarding to belong to an international, national,
or local society. Here are a few societies that might be of interest:
Contact your state
archeologist or State
Historic Preservation Officer for more information on anthropology
and archeology in your state.
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