THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROFESSION
IDENTIFYING THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS OF EUROPE
DEFINING AN ARCHAEOLOGIST
In order to complete the questionnaire, you have to construct an operational definition of an
archaeologist that is appropriate in your country. This could be done following some available legal
definitions (A) or by proposing some general criteria (B).
Once you have reached a satisfactory definition, please include it in the relevant part of the
questionnaire (in 'Part I – Employment')
A- Legal definition or
B- A definition of archaeologist according to the following criteria (In this document, the French
situation is given as an example)
-1. A body of knowledge and know-how
-What academic training? In France officially 3 years after entering at University (by law).
But this criteria is not absolute, and people with no formal training are integrated.
-What practical experience? Do you excavate/Have you excavated? In France, it is an
important condition for an archaeological definition.
-2. The respect of moral rules specific to a community
-In France it is the law (Heritage code). In other countries it can (also) be some code of ethics
-3. An identity to define oneself socially and professionally as an archaeologist « I am an
-Personal (and social) perception of being an archaeologist.
-4. Prospects for gaining knowledge and technical know-how through practice
-What possibilities of training? / Gaining professional experience?
-5. Participating in at least one of the main domains of archaeology:
-6. Being employed and paid (we are dealing with professionals)
Here are several examples
French definition of a professional archaeologist:
Person who has studied archaeology at University and/or is professionally using archaeological
methods and techniques. This person had participated in at least one archaeological field operation.
She respects the French archaeological legislative framework and defines herself as an
archaeologist. In the framework of her paid job, she gains knowledge and know-how by the
accumulation of experience and/or benefits from training programs in archaeology. She participates
in one or several of these activities: teaching archaeology; research and fieldwork; heritage
management; public outreach.
Example from “Discovering the archaeologists of Europe”
Legal definition of an archaeologist
Austria A degree in Archaeology at, at least, Masters level (there is also a
class of Mitarbeiter – „co-worker‟).
Belgium First degree in Archaeology.
Cyprus First degree with specialisation in Archaeology.
Czech Republic Masters degree in Archaeology or equivalent.
Germany A Doctorate or Magister in Archaeology.
Greece First degree with specialisation in Archaeology.
Hungary Masters degree in Archaeology.
Ireland No legal definition.
Netherlands A Doctorate or Magister in Archaeology.
Slovakia Magister degree in Archaeology or equivalent.
Slovenia Masters degree in Archaeology or equivalent.
United Kingdom No legal definition.
“These definitions are very much founded upon the historical perspective of an archaeologist being a
person who studies the physical remains of human lives in the past. The contemporary definition
now goes beyond that to encompass people who conserve and manage those physical remains in the
present and for the future.
This means that archaeologists are not just field-workers; while archaeological fieldwork is an
important aspect of archaeology, this project has also sought to look at archaeologists who work as
advisers to governments and private enterprises, at archaeologists who work as museum curators
and at archaeologists who work as teachers and researchers.
Inevitably, these points of discussion have meant that there are some differences from state to state
on who can be considered to be an archaeologist. The partnership formally agreed that for the
purposes of the project the definition should be as wide as possible, adapted as appropriate to
individual national situations but that education should not be used as the sole or lead criterion. On
principle, everyone who works with archaeological information and other archaeological materials
was to be included in the study – all archaeological workers, rather than just those with the title
“archaeologist”.” (Discovering the archaeologists of Europe, http://discovering-archaeologists.eu/