UW-La Crosse is one of only twelve universities in the country, and the only one in the Midwest to offer a comprehensive undergraduate degree in archaeology. The Archaeology Studies Major is interdisciplinary, integrating the fields of prehistoric, historic, and classical archaeology; cultural anthropology; geology and earth sciences; biblical archaeology and cultural resource management. The program is built around close instructor-student interaction and heavy participation by the student in all aspects of archaeological research in the field and lab.
UW-La Crosse is home to the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, a regional research center which provides much of the hands-on experience for undergraduate students. The Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center provides strong student financial support through scholarships and special projects, plus more than $30,000 annually to hire students for part-time and full-time lab and field work during the summer and academic year. This financial support ensures that students graduate with both academic and practical job preparation.
A solid college preparatory curriculum is recommended with a strong record of courses in the natural and social sciences, languages (English composition, English literature and foreign languages) and mathematics. Useful skills include computers, photography and statistics.
Archaeology Studies Major students need to be interested in discovering how people of the past lived and died, and they should have intelligence, perseverance, objectivity, imagination, and enthusiasm. They should be systematic and logical with a good attention for details in order to organize projects. Strong verbal and written communication skills are also essential.
Following are some of the occupations in which archaeologists may be employed:
-Entry Level (Bachelor's Degree)
Museum Technician/Exhibits Specialist
-Long Term Career Development (Graduate School)
Cultural Resources Director
Historic Preservation Officer
There are three main areas of employment opportunities for archaeologists: research and government employment, teaching, and cultural resources management.
Research archaeologists may be hired by federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, etc.; state agencies such as the Department of Transportation, historical societies and offices of historical preservation, state burial sites preservation programs, etc.; and museums and research institutes such as the Smithsonian, the Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center.
Teaching positions are usually at universities and colleges and always require an advanced degree. Teaching specialties may include: classical, Biblical, environmental, historical or prehistoric archaeology, geoarchaeology, Egyptology, and human skeletal anatomy.
Cultural resources management (CRM) is a product of historic preservation legislation which has created the fastest growing area of archaeology careers. Frequently, archaeologists work for (or own) private consulting companies which help developers and public agencies meet the requirements of preservation legislation by contracting out their services. These archaeologists locate previously unknown archaeological resources (sites and artifacts), evaluate the importance of resources and, if necessary, conduct rescue excavations if these remains are threatened by development or construction activities. These archaeologists may work for private archaeological consulting firms, engineering firms, environmental consulting firms or construction companies.
Frequently, professional archaeologists have careers which involve work in more than one of these major areas. For example, an archaeologist who is primarily a teacher during the school year will likely be doing research or consulting work during the summer.
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