Anthropologists and Archeologists

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Also known as:
Anthropologist, Applied Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Ethnoarchaeologist, Medical Anthropologist, Physical Anthropologist, Political Anthropologist, Research Anthropologist, Research Archaeologist

Video transcript

Anthropologists and archeologists are explorers of human culture. Their work is closely connected. Both careers focus on the way people live together. Anthropologists study the origin of humans, and their physical, social and cultural development. They are concerned with how the past relates to the present. They also conduct research by going to locations to ask questions, and make observations.

An archaeologist is a kind of anthropologist. Archaeologists study past societies through their material remains. They recover and examine material evidence such as ruins, tools and pottery remaining from past human cultures. With this evidence, they build an understanding of the history, customs, and living habits of earlier civilizations.

Archaeologists often travel to sites called "digs" where they search for remnants of societies. Together they create a picture of a society. We often think of anthropology and archeology in terms of the past - unearthing the secrets of ancient civilizations. But these scientists also examine living societies, in faraway Amazon jungles or in a neighborhood next door.

They might study gender differences, physical attributes, music, or religion. Their field is the wide array of human social experience. Usually their work is sponsored by a museum, university, or foundation. But they might also be independent filmmakers, or authors.

Most anthropologists and archaeologists prepare for their careers with a four-year college program followed by extensive graduate level study. For many professional, positions, especially with universities, a Ph.D. is required. These are academic fields that combine curiosity and attention to detail with a taste for adventure.


Study the origin, development, and behavior of human beings. May study the way of life, language, or physical characteristics of people in various parts of the world. May engage in systematic recovery and examination of material evidence, such as tools or pottery remaining from past human cultures, in order to determine the history, customs, and living habits of earlier civilizations.

Daily tasks

Enhance the cultural sensitivity of elementary and secondary curricula and classroom interactions in collaboration with educators and teachers.

Apply traditional ecological knowledge and assessments of culturally distinctive land and resource management institutions to assist in the resolution of conflicts over habitat protection and resource enhancement.

Lead field training sites and train field staff, students, and volunteers in excavation methods.

Formulate general rules that describe and predict the development and behavior of cultures and social institutions.

Organize public exhibits and displays to promote public awareness of diverse and distinctive cultural traditions.

Identify culturally specific beliefs and practices affecting health status and access to services for distinct populations and communities, in collaboration with medical and public health officials.

Clean, restore, and preserve artifacts.

Create data records for use in describing and analyzing social patterns and processes, using photography, videography, and audio recordings.

Assess archeological sites for resource management, development, or conservation purposes and recommend methods for site protection.

Conduct participatory action research in communities and organizations to assess how work is done and to design work systems, technologies, and environments.

Collaborate with economic development planners to decide on the implementation of proposed development policies, plans, and programs based on culturally institutionalized barriers and facilitating circumstances.

Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
History and Archeology Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Foreign Language Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.