Protohistorian

Find clues to the existence of civilizations without written history.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$26,000 – $96,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Protohistorians do?

Protohistory is the period of time when a group of people kept no written record of itself, but was recorded in the history of another civilization that already had a developed writing system. As a Protohistorian, you get to compile evidence from a multitude of sources to create an idea of what life might have been like for these young tribes.

At first, it might seem a bit confusing. If a whole culture didn’t record its own history, how can you be sure that anything written about it is accurate? And the truth is you can’t, but you can get pretty close. The Celts and Germanic tribes didn’t have a system of writing during the Iron Age, but as a Protohistorian, you can take accounts left by the Greeks and Romans, and combine their version of history with archaeological evidence to piece together the way these people lived.

Examining art, tools, and clothing that survived from the time period also helps Protohistorians fill in the gaps that protohistory cultures have left. While a civilization may have used oral storytelling instead of written records, they still may have left enough clues behind for you to paint a picture of how they lived, one that hopefully blends with the writings that the Greek and Roman Historians have given us.

Poring over old documents and translations may keep the midnight oil burning in the library, but the museums and archives near your home are not as well stocked as others in Europe or the Middle East where these ancient peoples actually lived. Traveling to seek rare records and ancient documents is a perfect excuse to get out of your office and into the sun (which, if you’re sucked into history books easily, you may not have seen for a while).


Should I be a Protohistorian?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.

  • Also known as: Professor of History

    How to become a Protohistorian

    Most Protohistorians have a Doctorate or a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:axat9y&chl=|certificate+%2818%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2815%25%29|master%27s+%2848%25%29|doctorate+%2819%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,48
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