Archaeologists are often thought of as people who dig around in the dirt for old bones and artifacts. While this is certainly a part of the job of most archaeologists, it’s not the only source of income that is available to archaeologists.

So, how do archaeologists make money?

In this article, we will explore five different ways that archaeologists can make money. We will look at how they can get paid to do research, how they can sell their findings to the public, and more! So, if you’re curious about how archaeologists make a living, read on!

What Do Archaeologists Do?

Archaeologists are people who study the past by looking at things that have been left behind. This can include anything from ancient buildings and art to bones and pottery. Archaeologists try to piece together how people lived in the past by looking at these objects and understanding what they were used for and how.

Archaeologists usually have a degree in archaeology, anthropology, or history. They might also have a degree in another field, like biology or geology, that helps them to understand the objects and civilization that they are studying.

Archaeologists work in many different places. They might work in museums, universities, or in countries where there are important archaeological sites. Some archaeologists work for the government, while others work for private companies or research institutions.

Is Archaeology a good career?

Archaeology can be a very rewarding career. It is a chance to learn about other cultures and how people lived in the past. It can also be a lot of fun!

However, archaeology can also be a challenging career. It can be difficult to find a job, and archaeologists often have to travel to different places to work. They might also have to work in difficult conditions, like hot weather or in the rain.

But if you are interested in learning about other cultures and how people lived in the past, then archaeology might be the right career for you!

But before you make the jump, be clear about the different options that are available to archaeologists for making money. After all, having a passion for your career is great but earning a living is more important to most people.

So now let’s look at the different ways in which archaeologists make money.

How Do Archaeologists Make Money?

The 5 most common ways in which archaeologists make money are:

  1. Research Grants
  2. Teaching Positions
  3. Fieldwork Excavations
  4. Selling Artifacts and Findings
  5. Consulting Work

Let’s take a closer look at each of these sources of income in turn.

1. Research Grants

Many archaeologists make money by applying for and receiving research grants. These grants can come from a variety of sources, such as the government, private foundations, and even universities. Archaeologists can use these grants to fund their research projects, pay for travel expenses, and more.

Grants are often given to archaeologists who are working on important or innovative projects. For example, a grant might be given to an archaeologist who is studying a new way of looking at an old problem. Or, a grant might be given to an archaeologist who is working on a project that will help to preserve an important archaeological site.

Many archaeologists are also associated with universities as professors or research fellows. This means that they might have access to university research grants, which can be used to fund their projects. This also means that they can hire students as research assistants and stretch their grant money further.

2. Teaching Positions

Another way that archaeologists can make money is by teaching at a university or college. These positions typically involve teaching classes on archeology, anthropology, and history. Archaeologists can also work as adjunct professors, which means that they teach part-time and often have other jobs as well.

Archaeologists who have a teaching position typically have a regular salary and might also have access to research grants. This means that they can use their grant money to fund their projects and pay for travel expenses.

Qualified archaeologists can also get invited to give lectures at universities, colleges, and other institutions. While these lectures don’t typically pay regularly, they can be a great way to share your knowledge with others and build your reputation as an expert in your field.

3. Fieldwork Excavations

Many archaeologists also make money by working on fieldwork excavations. These excavations can be sponsored by universities, museums, or even private companies.

Archaeologists working on these excavations typically receive a salary, as well as reimbursement for travel and other expenses.

If an excavation is funded by a research grant, then the archaeologist might also be able to use some of the grant money to pay for their own research project.

Fieldwork excavations can be a great way for an archaeologist to spend time in the region and culture of their interest and study.

However, working in locations of ancient civilizations can often be difficult and even dangerous. Archaeologists working on these excavations often have to work long hours in difficult conditions.

4. Selling Artifacts and Findings

Usually, artifacts or findings made by an archaeologist belong to the expedition but in some cases, an archaeologist may be able to sell their findings.

This is typically only possible if the findings are not of historical or archaeological importance.

For example, an archaeologist might be able to sell a piece of pottery that they found during an excavation. However, they would not be able to sell a piece of pottery that is of historical importance.

Selling artifacts and findings can be a great way for an archaeologist to make some extra money. However, it is important to remember that selling artifacts and findings are not always legal. In many cases, you are not allowed to leave the country with an archaeological artifact.

So this source of income is perhaps the least important and the least lucrative in most cases.

5. Consulting Work

In parts of the world, where a new city exists on top of ancient civilizations archaeologists are sometimes brought in as consultants on construction projects.

This is because when builders are planning to break ground on a new project, they must first check to see if there are any archaeological sites in the area.

This is quite common in cities like Rome and Athens where there exist layers of civilizations buried underground. If an archaeological site is found, then the construction project must be planned around it.

While this can be an interesting way for an archaeologist to make some extra money, it is not always easy to find this type of work.


Archaeology is a passion for anyone who pursues it as a profession. It is the only reason anyone opts for a career as an archaeologist.

It is a great way to explore the past and learn about how people lived. It is also a great way to connect with a long-lost civilization and walk in the shoes of people who lived in that era.

But how do archaeologists make money? In this article, we saw 5 different sources of income that archaeologists can have access to.

Most established archaeologists will be able to access research grants that can help them fund their time, travel, expenses, and any students who might assist them in their work.

Many archaeologists also take up full-time or part-time teaching positions in schools and universities. This gives them a chance to share their knowledge with the next generation of archaeologists while also earning a steady income.

In some cases, an archaeologist might get funding for an excavation, over and above a research grant. And they could even sell some of the findings which are not of historical importance.

And finally, archaeologists are sometimes hired as consultants. This is common for construction projects in old cities where there is a chance of finding something of archaeological value underneath a construction site.