In most modern countries some and occasionally all archaeological sites are protected under law from modification. Government agencies responsible for archaeological site protection may employ archaeologists to help manage sites, or to respond to applications to modify sites for development or research purposes.
In New Zealand archaeologists are employed by Heritage New Zealand (formerly NZ Historic Places Trust) as the national agency responsible for site protection. Heritage New Zealand archaeologists may process applications to modify sites and otherwise work to promote the identification, values and protection of archaeological places and areas. The Department of Conservation also employs archaeologists.
Local authorities are increasingly assuming greater responsibilities for archaeological heritage in New Zealand and overseas, and may offer archaeological employment. Public museums may employ archaeologists for specific conservation purposes or research.
Some archaeologists work in a private consulting capacity, offering services and advice to local and national government and other public institutions. Private archaeologists may also be contracted to carry out investigations required as the condition of an archaeological consent or to advise on the management and care of particular sites or artefacts.
Archaeological skills and knowledge may contribute usefully to other professions such as:
- museum management