Common misconceptions about Archaeology


Ever wondered what archaeology is all about? It’s time to set the record straight and debunk some common misconceptions that have been floating around. Archaeology, the study of our human past through analysing artefacts and uncovering ancient sites, often gets tangled up in myths. So, let’s uncover the truth behind the top three misconceptions about archaeology.  


Misconception 1: Archaeologists Dig Up Dinosaurs 

Okay, let’s clear the air right away—archaeologists are not running around Jurassic Park digging up T-Rex bones. That’s the job of palaeontologists. Archaeology focuses on our human past, diving into the secrets of past peoples and societies. Think all of the everyday items humans left behind. Their tools, their food remains, their art. So, no, archaeologists don’t spend their days dusting off dinosaur fossils. They’re too busy unravelling the mysteries of human culture! 

Dr Chelsea Wiseman on a maritime field school recording a historic shipwreck

Misconception 2: Archaeologists are just like Indiana Jones 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever imagined archaeologists as fearless adventurers like Indiana Jones, braving traps and snagging priceless artefacts. While Indiana Jones is a legendary character, the reality is a bit different. Sure, archaeology can be exciting, but it’s not all bullwhips and fedoras. It’s a meticulous science that requires years of training. Archaeologists are like history detectives, carefully documenting their findings, analysing artefacts, and piecing together the puzzle of the past. So, sorry to burst the bubble, but not every archaeologist has an action-packed life like Indiana Jones! 

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Misconception 3: There are no jobs in Archaeology 

Ever been told that archaeology graduates struggle to find jobs, let alone build a career? Well, guess what… The reality is completely different. Today, archaeologists are highly sought-after with most employment coming from within the booming cultural heritage industry.  

Opportunities for archaeologists are spread across the country. From undertaking archaeological surveys in the remote iron ore landscape of Western Australia’s Pilbara region, carrying out salvage excavations of 19th-century homes in the middle of Adelaide, or developing cultural heritage management and conservation plans for Australia’s historic and Indigenous sites, archaeologists are urgently needed to fill these roles.


Where do Archaeology graduates work?

Flinders Archaeology graduates are working both in Australia and all over the world.

  • Jelena Fabri is currently exploring the exciting world of Space Archaeology.
  • Dr Chris Wilson, who became the first Indigenous person in Australia to complete a PhD in Archaeology, has worked with Indigenous Youth Groups, the Australian Government and the South Australian Museum Aboriginal Advisory Committee.
  • Jessica Berry is CEO and founder of the charity Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST)
  • Or read about the many Flinders Maritime Archaeology graduates and where their degree has led them, here.

Interested in exploring a degree in Archaeology at Flinders? Learn more. 

Posted in
Archaeology Career