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Is a marine archaeologist a prosperous career choice?

Modern land archaeology and underwater archaeology are very close. Shipwrecks are the most frequent (and perhaps most popular) category of underwater archaeological sites investigated. But marine archaeologists often look at sunken airplanes, submerged land sites, and fishing sites.

Underwater archaeologists do studies in their underwater environment using unique methods and procedures borrowed from marine biologists and commercial divers. Underwater explorers, for example, utilize magnetic and auditory remote sensing devices to find flooded areas, as well as acoustic, infrared, and optical equipment to research and document each.

In addition to running high-tech equipment like remote sensing systems, underwater archaeologists are often responsible for tasks like:

  • Waterlogged remains: handling, evaluating, and documenting
  • Conducting analysis using ship logs and manifests, explorer accounts, and legal documents
  • Reporting and making executive recommendations
  • Getting vessels to archaeological sites and navigating them
  • Presenting scientific results to scholarly and general audiences
  • Writing books and/or scholarly journal publications

What is the average salary for an underwater archaeologist?

In the United States, the annual salary for an underwater archaeologist is $71,395. Underwater archaeologists earn the highest in San Francisco, CA, with an annual gross salary of $107,409. Which is 50% higher than the national average.

Underwater archaeologists earn a wide range of annual wages, from $30,000 for lower-level technicians to $90,000 for upper-level management and research jobs. The amount of money you make is primarily determined by your level of schooling, training, experience, position, and budget. Owing to the obscurity of the profession and the lack of full-time jobs, advancement prospects in underwater archaeology are difficult to determine.

What kind of education do you need to be a marine archaeologist?

A sub-specialty of archaeology is marine archaeology. Underwater explorations of historical sites are the focus of this work. Marine archaeologists may work in either freshwater or saltwater. To work in the industry, you’ll need at least a master’s degree, and a doctorate is normally required if you want to teach or work in the United States.

Underwater archaeologists must have both surface and underwater field experience in addition to a master’s degree. Enrolling in a dive training course to become a qualified diver is the first step toward achieving underwater experience. From there, one may enroll in an underwater archaeology field school to begin their training as an underwater archaeologist.

Programs for graduates

According to the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology’s website, there were only a few graduate programs in marine or underwater archaeology available. Even if they don’t deliver a graduate degree, certain universities offer courses in marine archaeology or similar areas. Do the homework because each program can have a slightly different subject, such as North American archaeology, ancient history, or a specific historical era. Fieldwork will take place at the university’s existing locations, some of which will have more options than others.

Prospective careers

Academic institutions, state and municipal governments, and commercial organizations are all popular places for underwater archaeologists to work. It’s hard to find full-time regular employment as an marine archaeologist. Individuals interested in pursuing a career as an underwater archaeologist should take the following steps to improve their marketability:

  • Underwater teaching that is extensive Increasing and improving swimming qualifications
  • Gaining experience in skills such as navigation and remote sensing that are essential in underwater archaeology
  • Choosing a specialty within the industry that is exceptional

What is the proper way to get ready to work as an marine archaeologist?

You should have a strong interest in history or prehistory, as well as a desire to be outdoors and on and in different bodies of water. Being a certified diver is obviously advantageous, but being an efficient and successful diver is much more. Use the opportunity to improve your diving skills, even though it’s just in the pool. Similarly, gain as much familiarity as possible in archaeological activities. This covers data post-processing and writing. The bulk of the work entails artifact study, historical studies, and writing up the findings of the fieldwork. It isn’t all scuba diving, vessels, water, and fun.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice for those entering this profession is to pursue some expertise that is still useful outside of archaeology. Bilingual communication, for example, can greatly aid in the monitoring and development of a profession. Knowing how to use magnetometers, side scan sonars, and other geophysical survey instruments can be very useful and can help you rise to the top of a list of career seekers. It is quite beneficial to have a background in GIS (geographic information systems). Thus it helps to have basic diving skills down pat; this way, no one has to think about the learning curve on a job. Divers with advanced experience also operate in a much better setting.

Thank you for reading! Learn ways to increase your income as a scuba diver here.


Scuba diver and travel enthusiast

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