Although you may not see them in the newspaper, there are lots of jobs around Australia in archaeology.

Most are in the area of cultural heritage management or contract (also called consultancy) archaeology.  This involves the assessment of the impacts of development on archaeological sites and can require skills in site survey and excavation, as well as report writing and negotiation. Cultural heritage management positions are readily available in all major cities around Australia and particularly in states with an active mining industry, such as Western Australia.

To work as a professional archaeologist in Australia you need to have studied a fourth year (either Honours or a graduate diploma) on top of a three year Bachelor's degree.

Students seeking a career as an academic need a PhD post-graduate degree.  Admission to post-graduate MA or PhD programs normally requires a First Class or IIA Honours degree.  

To find out more about a career as an archaeologist, see the Flinders Graduate Careers website, which has a range of graduate career profiles in archaeology, or check out Ace Day Jobs: Archaeologist.

For more specific information about where Australian archaeologists work, how much they earn and what fields they specialise in, see Australian Archaeology in Profile: A Survey of Working Archaeologists 2005: http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view.php?pid=UQ:8560, or visit 'Meet the Archaeologists' at http://archaeologyweek.com/mta/index.php.

View the statistics on  The Average Australian Archaeologist (PDF 196KB)

The Alumni Survey

Since 2007 the Department has sent out a questionnaire to all of its former Honours, graduate and post-graduate research students, asking them a series of questions about their experiences studying archaeology at Flinders University and how their studies had helped them in their post-student lives. Below are some of the responses we received. As you can see, the archaeology program has produced many successful graduates, most of whom gained immediate employment in the field of consulting archaeology or in a heritage-related industry.

The Questions

  • What degree did you do and in what year did you complete?
  • What is your current employment?
  • What are your roles and/or main activities in your job?
  • If you are not currently working as an archaeologist, how did what you learnt at Flinders help you in the workplace (in other words, what skills were transferable)?
  • What was the best/most interesting topic you undertook in your archaeology degree at Flinders, and why?
  • What was the most useful topic you studied and why, particularly for your current position?
  • What reasons would you give when telling a prospective student to do their degree at Flinders University ?

The Responses


Deborah Arthur
Deborah graduated with a Bachelor of Archaeology (Hons) in 2004 and is currently employed as a heritage consultant with Urbis (www.urbis.com.au) in Sydney, NSW. Her job involves: providing heritage advice to a variety of clients, including government, commercial and private individuals; undertaking archival recordings, and producing demolition reports, conservation management plans, heritage impact statements and other such reports. She credits her archaeology degree at Flinders with teaching her many transferrable skills, all of which have helped her working in the heritage industry, including research, photography, surveying and report writing. Deborah enjoyed 'Field Methods' most, as it involved learning how to research a site, plan field-work, and provide recommendations based on the field work. On the most useful topics, she says: "All topics were useful. I enjoyed working with others in a team, undertaking primary research, combining it with secondary research, and presenting in front of an audience on a variety of topics." Her recommendations to potential students are: "other than the fact of a great campus, facilities and staff, the range of subjects is very broad and the compulsory topics give you grounding in basic skills that are transferable to a variety of occupations."

 

Shawn Arnold
Shawn completed a Master’s of Maritime Archaeology degree in 2010. He presently works for C&C Technology as a project archaeologist in Lafayette, LA, USA. He is frequently tasked with marine remote sensing and investigation of submerged archaeological sites.  The topic he found most interesting while studying at Flinders was Coastal and Marine Archaeology because Dr. McKinnon exposed the class to current issues affecting archaeology around the world. The topic Shawn found most useful was the Advanced Field Practicum in Saipan because the course required working in cooperation with multiple agencies in a unique cultural setting. Prospective students will benefit from the wide array of opportunities to experience maritime archaeology and the extensive knowledge the faculty possesses concerning current archaeological research.

 

Aidan Ash
Aidan graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Archaeology (Hons) and immediately found work as an Archaeologist with Archae-aus Pty Ltd (www.archae-aus.com.au), an archaeological consultancy firm based in Fremantle, WA. His job mainly involves: conducting heritage surveys with Aboriginal communities throughout WA, involving the identification, recording, assessment and analysis of archaeological sites; cultural heritage management in remote areas; and report writing. He thought that "the field based topics, especially the field-schools" were the best and most important topics for employment in consulting archaeology, as "they were engaging, social, interesting, physical and outdoors... in these topics you realise whether you have the ability and the desire to carry out the majority of tasks needed to be employable as a consultant archaeologist." He also singles out 'Theory and Method' for helping students understand the 'effect cultural bias - you, your upbringing, your own culture - brings to your interpretation of archaeological sites.' For potential students he says Flinders has "[g]ood facilities and campus. The degree provides a good range of teaching styles and topics, exposure to other professionals within the industry/discipline and opportunities for 'hands on' practical experience. The staff are good to get along with, were always helpful with inquiries and advice, and are keen to set you up with opportunities if you show enthusiasm and ability."


Alice Beale
Alice graduated 2006 with a Bachelor of Archaeology (Hons) and is currently employed as Assistant Curator in the Anthropology Department of the Western Australian Museum (www.museum.wa.gov.au) in Perth, Australia. Her main tasks are: curation of the anthropology collection; undertaking field work; organising exhibitions; and assisting in the repatriation of objects to Indigenous communities. Her favourite topic was the upper level Field Methods (ARCH 2201 - formerly ARCH 3302) class, "due to its practical nature and demonstration of how important well developed field skills are." Alice credits the practical topics and her Honours research with supplying her with the skills she requires in her day to day work activities, and points to the "invaluable" practical field skills students are taught as the main reason to study Archaeology at Flinders.


Peter Birt
Pete graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in archaeology. He is currently employed as a Heritage Officer with the Aboriginal Heritage Branch, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division (www.premcab.sa.gov.au/dpc/department_aard.html) in Adelaide, South Australia. His main tasks are: heritage management, including site recording, site conservation and protection, and community consultation; and site recording training for Aboriginal communities. His favourite topic was his honours research, as it was an "excellent, interesting project [that involved] having to put what I'd learnt into practice", and he found 'Field Methods' the most relevant to his work, also pointing to a "wide range of volunteer fieldwork as a student" as a key part of his archaeological training. For the prospective archaeology student, he says that the Department contains a "[g]ood bunch of people and [provides] a good working environment, with an emphasis on Australian archaeology."


Darren Griffin

Darren graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in archaeology. He is now a Senior Heritage Consultant with Environmental Resources Management Australia Pty Ltd (www.erm.com), in Melbourne, Victoria. His role includes project management, which involves background research including historical and oral histories; Aboriginal community, local community, developer, site contractors and statutory government authority liaison and dispute resolution; archaeological survey, sub surface testing and excavation; site recording and significance assessment; cultural heritage resource management; and presentation of results at meetings, conferences and local courts and tribunals. As to his favourite topics: "I enjoyed all the topics I undertook at Flinders - they were all interesting and important for my current role. As a consultant you need to have some practical experience and knowledge of legislation that protects all forms of heritage in Australia - Aboriginal, historical and maritime." "The most useful topic was my Honours research thesis. This taught me how to research historical documents, oral histories etc; how to critically analyse previous research and reports on the same area/topic; how to design and undertake archaeological site investigations; how to collect, analyse and report on the information gained from fieldwork; how to operate effectively in a team environment but also how to work independently when needed; how to take on leadership roles; how to deal with a range of peoples from different backgrounds; and most importantly the self discipline to finish a project. These are all vital skills needed to be an archaeological/heritage consultant." For prospective students he says this: "Flinders offers a wide variety of topics with the right balance of theory and practical knowledge that is needed to learn how to be a professional archaeologist."


Matt Hanks

Matt Hanks completed his Masters of Maritime Archaeology in 2011 and currently holds an internship position with the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) in St. Augustine, Florida. Some of his responsibilities at LAMP include boat maintenance, speaking at public events, investigating underwater sites, artifact documentation, marine remote sensing, and supervising LAMP’s annual summer field school. This opportunity will allow him to polish his skills and techniques applicable to the field of maritime archaeology. Matt says the most interesting topic he took while at Flinders was Global Perspectives in Maritime Archaeology because it “exposed us to the numerous and varying issues and challenges archaeologists confront around the world.” While the most useful topic was “the Advanced Field Practicum in Saipan with Dr. Jen McKinnon because the topic gave students the opportunity to work in conjunction with numerous entities toward a common goal. It also allowed us to gain hands-on experience in a historically and culturally unique location.” Matt’s overall assessment of the program is summed up in the following statement, “The multitude of options for field experience and vast knowledge of the faculty at Flinders combine to create an incomparable opportunity for students to practice and learn ethical maritime archaeology.”


Peta Knott

Peta completed a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (Classical Archaeology Honours) in 2003 and a Master of Maritime Archaeology in 2006. She is currently Maritime Heritage Coordinator at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) (www.tmag.tas.gov.au/index.html) and the Maritime Museum of Tasmania (MMT) (www.maritimetas.org) in Hobart, Tasmania. Her numerous tasks in this role include: managing, researching and exhibiting the maritime collections of TMAG and MMT; redeveloping museum exhibitions at TMAG and MMT; working with the volunteers of the MMT to ensure the professional operation of this volunteer-run museum; assisting the public with maritime history research including investigating maritime objects in private collections; coordinating the Maritime Heritage Organisations of Tasmania - a group of maritime heritage organisations working together to promote and preserve maritime heritage throughout Tasmania; promoting maritime heritage throughout Tasmania through public talks and the media; and "anything else that pops up!" Her favourite topics were field schools: "I enjoyed the maritime archaeology field schools so much that I did four of them .., two as a student and two as a supervisor. The intense two weeks of living and working with like-minded people simulated real life archaeological fieldwork. Through these [field schools] you get a glimpse into the working world, which is useful to see if you are really on the right career path or not. Although the field schools are only two weeks long I always learnt more than I did in any whole semester subject. I found the unofficial subject of an internship at the South Australian Maritime Museum invaluable. I was able to exercise all of my research and analytical skills [and] I was also able to be creative while assisting with preparing an exhibition on shipwrecks." At Flinders, Peta developed research skills, learned to multi-task - an important part of her job at TMAG and MMT - and developed an appreciation of the value of liaising with colleagues in order to learn more about the discipline. Her most useful topic was her MMA thesis: 'How are Shipwrecks Represented in Australian Museums?' "My research is very relevant to my current job. My thesis investigated what the ideal museological methods were for representing shipwrecks in museums. I am now in the process of designing 'ideal' shipwreck exhibitions at a museum! What more could I want?!" For the prospective student, she says: "[t]he Master of Maritime Archaeology is a unique university degree in Australia. It supplies you with theoretical and practical skills required for the archaeology workforce. If students make the most of all opportunities, Flinders University can link them with very useful contacts for prospective research and work opportunities. If you complete an archaeology degree at Flinders, you will have instant professional connections in the archaeology world. Flinders graduates are everywhere!"


Jenni Lennox
Jenni graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Archaeology and is currently employed as an Archaeologist with Kayandel Archaeological Services, in Campbelltown, NSW, along with working towards a Master of Cultural Heritage Management at Flinders. Her job involves undertaking field work, report writing and community liaison. Her favourite topics were the 'Directed Studies' she has undertaken as part of her Masters program, as they provided her with insights into the activities undertaken in the course of heritage consultancy work, and the most useful topic was Field Methods (ARCH 2201). Jenni recommends students study archaeology at Flinders because it is "very practical rather than [purely] theory based - which is very useful for employment."


Christopher Lewczak
Chris graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Archaeology (Hons) and is now an Archaeologist/Project Manager with Biosis Research Pty Ltd (www.biosisresearch.com.au) in Sydney, NSW. His main tasks are to undertake archaeological and cultural heritage assessments, specifically for historical and maritime related projects, and to provide archaeological and heritage advice for proposed development projects in NSW. His favourite topics were the third year 'Underwater Archaeology' and the 'Maritime Archaeologyl Field School', because field schools allow students to "practice on real sites in the field ... and I am always happiest in rubber." The most useful topic was HUMN 7000, as the "component where we actually had to prepare a funding grant application was very similar to preparing a tender in the consulting world. As a consulting archaeologist, proposals are a very important component and [tendering] skills need to be acquired to not only win the project but show how you are going to complete it to someone who has no idea archaeology or cultural heritage is." When recommending Flinders, Chris says: "The resources, including the teaching staff, are great and bring in a variety of job experience and project types. The field work opportunities that are presented during the degree at Flinders Uni are second to none. No other university in Australia that teaches archaeology presents as many fieldwork possibilities, both during the course and aiding post graduate students. [Also] the network that exists between all past graduates means that there you can ask a former graduate who is currently employed as an archaeologist any question about work and working in that State."


Brandi Lockhart

Brandi graduated from the Master of Maritime Archaeology in 2006 and is currently working as a term underwater archaeologist with Parks Canada Underwater Archaeology Service, Ottawa. Some of the main activities of this position include, underwater site monitoring, site recording, keeping field notes, working with GIS, cataloguing photos and underwater video. The most interesting course she took was the 'Underwater Archaeology Field School' as it gave her the opportunity to apply knowledge acquired in the classroom to actual underwater field work and provides vital practical experience. The two most useful courses were the 'Underwater Archaeology Field School' and 'Issues in Maritime Archaeology': "These two classes provided the basic knowledge and skills I use working as an underwater archaeologist." In recommending the course, she says: "The Maritime Archaeology program at Flinders is well known and respected in the field. The classes provided a well guided introduction to underwater archaeology, and the thesis allowed me to study a more specific field of interest while being introduced to the requirements of writing large scale research paper. I enjoyed my time at Flinders and would recommend it to anyone considering underwater archaeology."

 

Ashley Matic
Ashley graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Archaeology (Hons) and in 2003 with a MA in archaeology. He is currently an Archaeologist with Biosis Research Pty Ltd (www.biosisresearch.com.au), an environmental resources consulting firm in Melbourne, Victoria. His primary roles are to: "act as an advisor to clients on archaeological issues associated with proposed developments; work with developers, Aboriginal communities and government agencies to determine the best approach to managing the cultural heritage assets of an area that may be affected by a proposed development". His favourite topics were those based on historical archaeology, where his primary research interests lie, but on the question of the most relevant to his work he finds it "difficult to point to just one, as there are components from several that I use almost daily in my job". For prospective students he has this advice: "[t]hat the archaeology department offers interesting and varied topics; the course provides a great basis for a career as a professional archaeologist; the staff are extremely supportive; and that the department has good facilities (ie lab, etc) and is well equipped."

Dave Mott
Dave graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in archaeology and is now a Senior Archaeologist with Australian Cultural Heritage Management Pty Ltd (www.achm.com.au), an archaeological and anthropological consultancy firm based in Adelaide, South Australia. His primary tasks in this position are: the conduct of archaeological surveys, excavations and analysis; report writing; and business management. As for his favourite topic, which he also found the most useful for his current position, in his own words: "'Indigenous Archaeology' was the most interesting topic for me. It provided relevant background for me to explore my interest in the area. Fieldwork, in collaboration with Traditional Owners, was central in guiding me towards my present day occupation".  As for the reasons he would give a prospective Flinders student: "[the] University in general is an excellent learning environment and the staff treat students more like colleagues than undergraduates."


Sarah Nahabedian
Sarah Nahabedian completed her Masters in Maritime Archaeology in 2011. Sarah recently accepted a position as the Program Director at the Block Island Maritime Institute. Sarah is creating and implementing educational programs centered around Block Island's marine ecology and maritime heritage. The Block Island Maritime Institute is a non-profit organization that strives to preserve the rich maritime heritage of Block Island by providing maritime and marine science related activities on-island, and travel opportunities to local island children. The Institute also places a special focus on providing experiential education for disadvantaged children from urban areas and promoting educational exchange between the two groups. 


David Nutley

David completed a Master of Maritime Archaeology in 2006. He currently works as a Heritage Officer (Maritime Archaeologist) in the Heritage Office, NSW Department of Planning, where his main responibility is the coordination of the NSW Underwater Cultural Heritage Program. His favourite and most useful topic was his research into the inundation of Indigenous Australian archaeological sites. As to his feelings on the program at Flinders, he says it is "a well structured, comprehensive program for archaeological training and, in particular, maritime archaeology."


Rebecca O'Reilly
Rebecca graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in archaeology. She is currently a Senior Archivist with State Records of South Australia (www.archives.sa.gov.au), in Adelaide, and was previously employed with Heritage Victoria 's Maritime Heritage Unit as the Commonwealth Shipwrecks Officer in 2001/02. Her duties include assisting customers in carrying out archival research and accessing official records; development of training material for staff, students and general public, including workshops for Flinders University students; development of procedures for the Reference and Access Services Team; involvement with State Records exhibition "Scabby Knees, Hopes & Dreams" research team on display at Leigh Street. Rebecca's favourite topics were those based on maritime and historical archaeology, and the most useful was 'Colonial Australian History', which provided her with a good grounding for assisting researchers undertaking historical research at the archives (State Records). She also credits the general historical (and other) research skills and the verbal, written and presentation skills she learned during her studies with being of great importance in the workplace generally.


Adam Paterson

Adam graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Archaeology (Hons) and is currently employed as an Archaeologist with Archaeological and Heritage Management Solutions Pty Ltd in Annandale, NSW. His diverse tasks include project management, historical research, archaeological excavation and planning, site survey, historical and Aboriginal heritage impact assessment, and preparing excavation permit applications. On his favourite topic, he had this to say: "Archaeological theory was very interesting and provided some much needed background information regarding the development of archaeology as a discipline. A particularly important issue raised within this topic is the effect that use of differing theoretical paradigms has on the outcomes of research (i.e. interpretation)." He says 'Field Methods' was the most useful "as the skills I learned could be applied to work situations relevant to entry level or sub-consulting positions typically available to graduates in Sydney. In addition to the Field Methods topic, field schools and opportunities provided by the University to volunteer on excavations, in Australia and overseas, aided me in gaining employment." To potential students he says: "Flinders University has developed a reputation for providing more field work opportunities than other Australian based universities. As a result graduates from Flinders are generally recognised as having better developed field work based skills than graduates from other universities."


Cassandra Philippou
Cass graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in archaeology and is currently employed as a Maritime Archaeologist with Heritage Victoria (www.heritage.vic.gov.au), in Melbourne. Her primary role is the management of maritime heritage places (shipwrecks and archaeological sites), which involves mitigation, compliance, research, interpretation, education, administration, fieldwork, and liaison with developers, consultants, volunteers, students, researchers, divers and the general public. Her favourite topic was 'Historical Archaeology' as it was her main interest, although she found a non-archaeology specific topic - 'Professional English' - the most useful as "it was a multi-disciplinary topic that helped to hone my writing skills. Being able to write clearly and concisely and get your point across is particularly useful for many aspects of my work". Cass is enthusiastic about recommending archaeology at Flinders to prospective students: "It's cheap to live in Adelaide! If they want to do maritime archaeology specifically there isn't anywhere else in Australia to study it. When I was at Flinders there were plenty of opportunities to do fieldwork and this seems to be one of the main reasons why my peers and I were very employable compared with graduates of universities in the eastern states. Being capable in the field is a very important aspect of being an archaeologist, and nowadays students must try harder to get independent field experience if they want to get work and, importantly, to be good archaeologists."

Faye Prideaux

Faye graduated with a Bachelor of Archaeology (Hons) in 2006 and is currently working as a Heritage Officer with South East Water - Utility Services, in Melbourne, Victoria (www.southeastwater.com.au). Her main activities in this work include: explaining Aboriginal heritage legislation to the design teams; completing due diligence assessments and simple Cultural Heritage Management Plans; working with archaeological consultants; and conducting heritage audits. She found that generic report writing skills have been the most useful thing she learnt at university, while she found the topic 'Archaeology of Art' the most interesting and the 'Rock Art Field School' the most relevant for the field skills that were taught. Faye recommends Flinders as a great environment for learning.

Nathan Richards
Nathan graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in archaeology and then in 2002 was awarded a PhD, both at Flinders. He is now Assistant Professor in the Program in Maritime Studies at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, USA (www.ecu.edu/maritime), in which he is involved in teaching, research, advising, professional service. He credits the topics on maritime archaeology with helping him work out what he wanted to do with his life and enjoyed the numerous fieldschools and the 'Field Methods' classes as "the most fun and educational". He credits the Department of Archaeology with "quality of supervision, close-knit community [and] availability of good field projects."

Jennifer Rodrigues

Jennifer graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in archaeology. She went on to complete an MA in Maritime Archaeology in 2001 at the University of Southampton, UK, and than a PhD at the University of Western Australia in Perth. After graduating from Southampton, Jennifer worked at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, England, before joining the Western Australian Museum in 2003 where she is currently in charge of the Maritime Archaeology Department's shipwreck collections (www.museum.wa.gov.au/maritime). Jennifer is heavily involved in shipwreck exhibitions but her other roles include working on research and collaborative projects, research and publications, supervising volunteers and interns, supervising/advising postgraduate students, as well as enforcement issues, among other responsibilities. She credits her lecturers' strong encouragement to acquire fieldwork experience from internal or external projects and publishing one's research as being vital in acquiring work in the field. Jennifer is currently also the Editor of the Bulletin of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology.

Her favourite topic at Flinders was 'Museum Studies' as it was what she always wanted to do, "and it raised some very interesting and sensitive issues to do with acquiring of objects for museum collections and issues surrounding the repatriation of cultural objects." 'Maritime Archaeology', 'Field Methods' and 'Museum Studies' were her picks as most useful because of the practical experience and investigation of the methods involved in carrying out fieldwork. "Maritime Archaeology specifically provided a background knowledge in terms of identifying and working with shipwreck and other maritime objects, carrying out research on these and knowing the theories involved. Museum Studies provided me with the necessary knowledge for working in a Museum environment in terms of interpreting display, keeping up-to-date with relevant issues and policies concerning the collections, and being constantly aware that the Museum's obligation as a public institution, and that members of the public involve a wide range of audiences that we need to cater to not only via exhibitions and accurate interpretations but also in accessing the collections and research materials available." For the aspiring student, she says: "[In] my experience, it's one of the best departments to be in. It has strong staff who have very influential national and international links with professionals and institutions. The Department is also well established academically and, for maritime, is the only university to offer such a program in Australia. Flinders is also very conducive for study, is a great campus with good facilities and very little beats living in Adelaide!"


Jody Steele
Jody graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in archaeology and is currently employed as a Historic Heritage Consultant/Archaeologist with the Historic Heritage Section, Parks & Wildlife Service (www.parks.tas.gov.au), in Hobart, Tasmania. Her primary role is in historic heritage consultation, involving terrestrial archaeology and historic buildings conservation, conservation management and acting as a conservation 'best practice' advisor. Although currently working in heritage, Jody believes that topics requiring historical research and report writing provided her with the skills most broadly applicable in any workplace. Her favourite topics were 'Museum Studies' and 'Modern Material Culture', along with the practical based topics - of course - and she credits the 'Field Methods' topic as the most valuable to her current employment, "where recording sites is vital". For prospective students, she advises: "the Archaeology Department at Flinders is well respected around the country and the staff are so resourceful and approachable that you can't help but learn!"