2.11 Archaeologists’ Qualifications

Latest Data: 2020

This page examines the qualifications held by UK professional archaeologists.

Highlights

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Since the 2002-03 Profiling the Profession survey, data on qualifications have been gathered. The 2002-03, 2007-08 and 2012-13 versions asked employers, while the 2019-20 asked individuals. Data were gathered on the highest qualifications individuals held, as apposed to all qualifications. For over 20 years the trend has been for ever-increasing levels of qualification in the archaeological workforce. In 2020, over two-thirds of archaeologists (70% including ‘others’, which are almost all post-graduate qualifications) have at least one post-graduate qualification. ONS does not provide more detailed breakdowns of qualifications, but in 2017 45% of 21-64 year olds, active in the labour market, had at least an undergraduate degree or equivalent (ONS).

21 and 64

Table 2.11.1: Highest qualifications obtained by employed/self-employed archaeologists for 2002-20. ‘Other’ was not asked prior to 2019-20. ‘Post-doctoral qualification’ & ‘Foundation degree or HND’ was not asked in 2002-03.

Qualifications 2002-03 2007-08 2012-13 2019-20
Count % Count % Count % Count %
Post-doctoral qualification 0% 9 0% 5 1% 10 1%
Doctorate 202 10% 263 11% 174 19% 233 23%
Master’s degree 412 21% 672 29% 249 27% 445 44%
Bachelor’s degree 1,131 58% 1,227 53% 441 47% 287 28%
Foundation degree or HND 0% 39 2% 15 2% 5 0%
School qualifications 199 10% 97 4% 54 6% 11 1%
Other 18 2%
Total (n=) 1,944 2,307 939 1,009

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What respondents identified as ‘other’ qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree X 2
  • Post-graduate professional studies
  • MPhil
  • Post-graduate diploma PGDip (6 responses)
  • 2 Postgraduate Diplomas
  • Post-graduate certificate PGCE (6 responses)
  • Post-graduate diploma and Post-graduate certificate
  • MLitt

An examination of ages and qualifications (prompted by the R analysis – see methods) indicates that the increasing levels of qualifications are driven by age. Though under 50 are more likely to have a Masters than those over (Table 2.11.2). Data were not collected on how long respondents have had their qualifications, so how exactly later career qualifications affects this distribution is unknown. This might be causing the steady increase in PhDs obtained by age.

Table 2.11.2: Responses from those who were employed or self-employed as an archaeologist regarding their highest level of qualification, broken down by ages for 2019-20. Excludes Foundation degree or HND for data protection of respondents

Age Doctorate & Post-doctoral qualification Master’s and Other Bachelor’s degree
Count % Count % Count %
Under 25 8 20% 19 46% 14 34%
26-30 14 15% 57 59% 25 26%
31-35 21 18% 64 55% 32 27%
36 – 40 36 23% 78 50% 42 27%
41 – 45 29 23% 66 52% 31 25%
46 – 50 35 32% 56 50% 20 18%
51 – 55 29 27% 35 32% 44 41%
56 – 60 30 31% 28 29% 40 41%
Over 60 30 32% 33 35% 30 32%
Total 232 25% 436 46% 278 29%

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Image Credit

Image from Palmero Fernández, M. 2020 DSLR Digitisation of Colour Slides: The Digitising Jemdet Nasr 1988-1989 Project, Internet Archaeology 55. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.55.10 CC BY 3.0

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CREDITS

Title: Profiling the Profession

2020 Authors: Kenneth Aitchison, Poppy German and Doug Rocks-Macqueen

Published by: Landward Research Ltd

Version Date: 2021

ISBN: 978-0-9572452-8-0

DOI: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.14333387

License: CC BY SA 4.0 for all text and figures. Header images are from different sources check image credits for their specific licensing.

2020 funders: Historic England, with support from Historic Environment Scotland, CIfA and FAME.

Questions about Profiling the Profession: enquiries@landward.eu