See what ancient people were like by studying their living descendants.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$31,000 – $89,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Ethnoarchaeologists do?

The scattered fossils and remains from the past can only tell us so much about the ancient cultures that roamed the Earth before us. That’s why Ethnoarchaeologists look to the present to fill in the empty spaces that archaeological data leaves gaping open.

Ethnographers simply study the culture of people in social groups, but as an Ethnoarchaeologist, you take this one step further by using the Ethnographers ’ studies to solve the riddles that history has left unsolved. On digs, Archaeologists will often find strange tools or odd pieces of clothing that are seemingly meaningless, but of course, Ethnoarchaeologists know better. Not all culture is lost in time or forgotten. Certain people around the world may still use similar tools or wear similar garb, and the purpose of such artifacts may still be out there waiting for you to find out.

Each investigation begins with the question, “What was this used for?” and then continues with a whole lot of research. The living descendants of an ancient tribe may have migrated halfway around the world from their original ancestors, and if you want to make your way out to study their social structure and religious practices, you need to know where to look.

Your reward comes when you’re able to make connections. While visiting a Siberian village, for example, you see a religious symbol that matches one found on an ancient piece of pottery. Now you know that the relic might have been used as something more holy than a vase for flowers. With remains from the past and clues from the future, not only are you able to reconstruct ancient traditions, but you also see how they’ve evolved and ultimately stuck around thousands of years later.

Should I be an Ethnoarchaeologist?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to become an Ethnoarchaeologist

    We recommend at least a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Ethnoarchaeologist-related education!
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