Archaeology as a Profession

Timothy Darvill

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199237821
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Archaeology as a Profession

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  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology


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The development of archaeology as a discipline, both in terms of its theoretical and philosophical foundations, and its methodological and practical frameworks, is discussed many times and from a number of perspectives. This article considers how archaeology in the Western world has become professionalized and what constitutes the archaeological profession. It focuses on the situation in Europe, North America, and Australasia. Archaeology is a global profession that shares many underlying tenets and ideals, although its application and deployment often have more regional aims and local characteristics. One key issue inextricably bound up with professionalization in archaeology is the matter of role specialization. Relationships between Indigenous people and archaeology are also a major strand running through archaeological practice, and the associated codes of practice and ethical principles, in Australasia. Much of the future development of the profession will probably hinge on the spread of specialization in archaeological work, responses to cultural diversity, pressures born of economic circumstances, and reactions to insights gained through the adoption of global perspectives.

Keywords: archaeology; professionalization; archaeological work; role specialization; Australasia

Article.  8684 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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