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Past forward

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:11 IST

Archaeology basically is the analysis and understanding of history by studying excavated remains, e.g. utensils, weaponry, skeletons or fossils.

The lowdown
Archaeology basically is the analysis and understanding of history by studying excavated remains, e.g. utensils, weaponry, skeletons or fossils. To a trained archaeologist, a small bone or the fragment of a clay pot can speak volumes. It can be hard work on field, mucking about with sand and dirt, or tiring work in the lab. But the rewards can be huge, if not in terms of money then at least in terms of making the most exciting discoveries ever and becoming famous

Clock Work
For those not on site
9am: Reach office
10am: Look at the day’s appointments
11am: Visit designated sites
1.30pm: Lunch
2pm: Write report on site visit, suggesting improvements, recommending changes
4pm: Official meetings
6pm: Leave for home
For those doing fieldwork
9am: Reach site, start work
1pm: Review work
1.30pm: Lunch
5pm: Take a round of the site
6pm: Leave for residential accommodation (temporary in some cases)

The payoff
The basic pay scale of an assistant archaeologist employed with the Archaeological Survey of India is Rs9,000 to Rs15,000 a month.
The salary scale of the director general varies from Rs25,000 to Rs30,000 a month. A doctoral degree in this field means a higher pay scale. A doctorate is a must if one wants to make a name as an archaeologist

It’s a research-oriented field. You learn about and study the past. You conserve your historical assets and cultural heritage, and gift them to the next generation

Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, deputy superintending archaeologist ASI (Delhi Circle)



Skills/TRAITS
. Knowledge of history
. Sportsman-like stamina, as one would be required to work long and gruelling hours on field, exposed to the elements
. A voracious reading habit, with a perceptive and probing mind

Getting there
Graduates in any discipline can pursue a PG diploma or degree in archaeology. Preference is given to graduates in history, social sciences like sociology and anthropology

Institutes
. Benares Hindu University
http://www.bhu.ac.in
. Patna University
http://www.patnauniversity. ac.in
. Punjab University, Chandigarh
www.puchd.ac.in

Pros and cons
. A dream career for those who love exploring ruins and relics
. Extremely exciting moments happen in the lives of archaeologists when an important discovery is made