Archaeology is a very exciting and unique subject. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the utility of this subject, mainly because of the lack of understanding. History and archaeology are two sides of the same coin as they both study ancient civilizations and people.
Archaeologists mainly rely on material left behind either accidentally or discarded by their users for reconstructing history. The subject is gaining popularity and a wider scope. Therefore, more and more students are getting attracted to it. The subject, barring MS University of Baroda, is taught at the postgraduate and doctoral level only at selected universities in the country and, therefore, its scope in the teaching field is a bit restricted. However, one can find ample opportunities in Central government or state government departments after completing a two-year postgraduate diploma in archaeology from the Archaeological Survey of India’s Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the biggest Government of India organisation with its circles and branches spread all over the country and hence recruits many archaeologists produced in the country.
Archaeology students, after completing their masters’ degrees, may try their luck in the various public and private museums, tourism departments and specialised publishing houses. Many students specialising in conservation science and fundamentals of archaeology also find ample job opportunities overseas, particularly at the world heritage sites, rescue excavations and conservation training schools.
In many countries, archaeologists are hired either by the government or private agencies for carrying out surveys before undertaking any developmental works. In countries like Korea there is a dearth of qualified archaeologists, who can be hired by such companies.
Conservation, heritage management, museology, archaeological chemistry, palaeo-botany, archaeological dating, etc are some of the most important emerging fields of specialisation. ASI has instituted a National Mission for Monuments and Antiquities by which it is aiming to document all existing archaeological artefacts in the country. The work has been assigned to many university departments of archaeology and museology, museums and research institutes. They are employing many archaeologists for documentation work and plenty of work opportunities are available there.
The future of archaeology in the country is bright as the government is keen to establish museums in almost every district and develop many sites and monuments from the tourism point of view. In the next five years, many archaeologists will be required by various agencies to cope with the growing needs of the subject.
Institutes at a glance
* Deccan College (deemed university), Pune
* MS University of Baroda, Vadodara
* Banaras Hindu University
* Patna University
* Panjab University, Chandigarh
* Institute of Archaeology, UCL, UK
* Cambridge University, UK
* Oxford University, UK
* University of Wisconsin, Madison, US
* University of California, US
The author is professor and joint director, Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research University (deemed), Pune