Al-Fanar Media has been researching the many ways of studying archaeology in the Arab world, as well as the best job opportunities for archaeology graduates.
The Arab world has many faculties of archaeology, such as those at Cairo University, the University of Mosul, and the University of Jordan. However, archaeology students and students-to-be often worry about what jobs await them in the labour market after graduation.
Al-Fanar Media presents a brief review of the reality of studying archaeology in universities of the Arab world and the job prospects of archaeology schools’ graduates.
While faculties of archaeology have different departments that focus on each country’s history, they share several majors. Commonly taught specialties include the following:
Paleoanthropology: This major studies the origins and development of humans in the distant past through the analysis of fossils and artefacts.
Prehistoric archaeology. This field is concerned with the study of civilisation before writing or historical records existed, when humans lived as small groups of hunter gatherers, moving from place to place, before settling in larger groups.
Historical archaeology involves the study of cultures and civilisations after the invention of writing, usually in societies that transitioned from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, organised governments, and practiced arts and crafts.
Zooarchaeology focuses on the analysis of animal remains in archaeological contexts.
Egyptology deals with the history of ancient Egypt from about 7,000 B.C.E. to the early Middle Ages. Egyptology students study aspects of ancient Egyptian civilisation, like language, beliefs, engineering, medicine, and economics.
Classical archaeology studies the Mediterranean civilisations of ancient Greco-Roman world and their material cultures, including buildings, monuments, artefacts and literary works, as well as the era’s philosophy, laws, beliefs and religious practices.
Forensic archaeology studies ancient graves to determine the identity of historic human remains and the objects, buildings and other artefacts associated with them.
Biblical archaeology studies the peoples and civilisations of the region considered “Holy Land” by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, especially the scientific investigation and restoration of antiquities mentioned in Scripture.
Conservation and restoration courses in some faculties of archaeology study methods of restoring tangible antiquities, such as papers, textiles, leather, wood, and mummies, as well as safeguarding elements of intangible cultural heritage.
Jobs for Archaeology Graduates
Archaeology graduates can qualify for many types of jobs, including the following:
Working with official authorities. Ministries of antiquities and other government agencies constantly appoint archaeology graduates to fill technical positions in areas like restoration work and cultural resource management.
Tourist guidance. Accompanying local and foreign visitors to historical and cultural sites is another popular field for archaeology graduates. Graduates must master at least one foreign language, as well as have good historical knowledge of archaeological sites, if they want to get the best jobs in this area.
Working at museums and heritage sites. The Arab world has many museums, including world-class institutions like the Bardo Museum in Tunisia, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art. These and other museums and heritage sites have posts for archaeology graduates, including as curators and preservation specialists.
Monument restoration. Restoring antiquities is another area with job opportunities for archaeology graduates, particularly graduates of restoration departments.
Archaeological excavation. Excavation projects provide a number of jobs for archaeology graduates, including conducting surveys and laboratory analyses, as well as working with crews conducting the excavations themselves.
Teaching. Many schools hire archaeology graduates as history teachers. Students who have completed postgraduate studies in archaeology can also teach at the university kevek.
Freelancing. Some archaeology graduates work as independent consultants to developers and construction firms. Others may employ their academic knowledge writing articles or research on archaeological sites and previous civilisations for newspapers and specialised publications.
Traits that Aid Success in the Field
Archaeology Southwest, a private, nonprofit organisation based in Tuscon, Arizona, in the United States, specialises in exploring and protecting heritage places.
“Attributes of a Successful Archaeologist,” a blog post by a former student of Archaeology Southwest’s Preservation Archaeology Field School, lists several traits that archaeologists who choose to do field work will need. These include:
Having a cheerful spirit and a sense of humour. These attributes can help archaeologists bear the trials typically encountered in site work, which often involves great physical effort in uncomfortable weather and environmental conditions.
Being able to work in a team. Each archaeologist brings their own experiences and skills to a project, but it is through working together as a team that an excavation group achieves its goals.
Being passionate about history and research. Archaeologists involved in excavating antiquities enjoy updating their own knowledge and the idea of being close to unveiling what no one has seen for thousands of years
Having critical thinking skills. Successful archaeologists must be able to link details from their own specialties with those of others, and derive conclusions from the available evidence, no matter how little there is.
Having concentration and careful observation skills. These indispensable traits enable archaeologists to see differences that casual observers may overlook, and could one day lead to important new discoveries.
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