What Archaeologists Do

This piece was written by Asa Beeby, HES Archaeology Trainee at Archaeological Project Services from September 2018 – 2019

Archaeology is as varied a career as you could probably find. The balance between physical and theoretical work is what keeps each day varied and engaging. From discovering potential archaeology to excavating and accurately recording it, is a satisfying and thought-provoking process.

Archaeologists frequently travel to many different sites to carry out various forms of work using a range of tools, whether it is geophysics, watching briefs or excavations. All examples of excavated archaeology are totally unique in some way, and so even if working on the same site for some time, every day will differ. The only thing that is usually guaranteed in a typical working week is that it will be different from the week before it and also the week after it.

One week you could be digging in a quarry site for Roman pottery and the next teaching school children how to dig themselves. The balance between commercial and community work ensures that new faces are always being introduced and different skills are always being used.


As working outside in any weather is a requirement, there are some days which are more difficult than others. However, every season brings its challenges and benefits and we are always wishing for the next season to roll around until it actually does. Doing manual and messy work in the scorching sun or freezing rain keeps you healthy, tough and appreciative of smaller things.

Given that, I would say archaeology is: never glamourous, always interesting.