Why study Archaeology?
The study of Archaeology will broaden your understanding of the development of human society and culture. At Otago you will learn about the methods and findings that have led archaeologists to understand how and why complex societies emerged throughout the world.
Otago courses provide a unique 50,000 year perspective on early human colonisation and cultural change in Asia and the Pacific. Students gain novel insights into human social and material environments and interactions in the past.
Students can also prepare for a career that promotes new and exciting research into our human heritage, and the care of archaeological sites today. Graduating Archaeology students will have critical skills in the systematic recording, analysis and interpretation of the cultural past.
Archaeology is taught as part of the Arts degree at the University of Otago so our students receive excellent instruction in research, and are skilled in the construction and presentation of well-reasoned and articulated arguments – in both written and oral form. These are the fundamental skills necessary for a wide range of careers and our graduates are currently employed in many different professions. Those with a graduate degree in Archaeology often elect to take up positions in archaeological research, heritage management, museum studies or in related fields.
In most countries, some and occasionally all archaeological sites are protected from modification under law. 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, some archaeologists are employed by Heritage New Zealand, the national agency responsible for site protection. Such archaeologists may process applications to modify sites and otherwise work to promote the identification, understanding 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 also employ archaeologists as curators, or for specific conservation purposes and research.
Many archaeologists work in a private consulting capacity, offering services and advice to local and national government and other public institutions. They may also be contracted to carry out investigations required during development work, or to advise on the management and care of particular sites and artefacts.
Archaeological skills and knowledge contribute usefully to other professions such as planning, surveying, museum management, history and tourism.