Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Career Case Study - Interview with Abi Kirk

Where did you graduate and what are you doing now?
I graduated in 2008 with Single Honours Archaeology Degree at Lampeter University in Wales, UK which is now called Trinity St David. Currently I am teaching English at a High School in South Korea while I am waiting for my young adult fantasy book to be published.

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology?
After I graduated I did try and look for jobs within archaeology. I got the chance to volunteer for my university and excavate at a hinterland site in Cyprus for 5 weeks. It was a Middle to Late Bronze Age site which is what I “specialise” in. I personally find the Bronze Age Mediterranean period fascinating and love distinguishing various potteries from Cypriots, Mycenaean’s and Egyptians.

After the excavation I applied for an MA in Social Archaeology, specifically for Mediterranean Cultures and Civilizations at Lampeter University. During that time I excavated at Kents Cavern in Devon, UK. A Palaeolithic cave. One of the first human occupied sites in the UK. Though it wasn’t paid work, it was good experience and I learnt a lot.

When I finished my degree, I tried to find a job within archaeology, but the climate being as it was made it extremely difficult for me, so I turned my attention elsewhere and found a job at the National Trust. The National Trust is a very large charity in the UK and I found it fascinating working in old castles and Georgian Houses that the trust has kept and preserved for future generations.


How has a degree in archaeology benefited your career?
During the time I worked at the National Trust, I began to write young adult stories that featured factual history as well as Greek, Norse, Celtic, Egyptian and Roman mythology which I briefly learnt about during my BA degree. The book turned into a trilogy which has been picked up by a literary agent and will hopefully be published soon. Without my degree in archaeology I never would have written such books which I have been told inspire so many teens and adults to learn about history and mythology. It’s given them hope to write their own stories and to want to study classical civilization. Also without my degree it never would have given me the chance to teach English and come to Korea. The children I teach don’t know anything about archaeology, so when I tell them I’m like Indiana Jones they find it fascinating and want to know what I have found.


Would you go back into Archaeology later down the line?
I have come to realise that archaeology is now more of a hobby than a career, but it has certainly given me the foundation and discipline to research books in the proper manner, especially when I write my own fictional books I always do research first. I would love to go back into archaeology when I have the time. It’s such an awe inspiring job; finding objects from the past that no one has seen for thousands of years. Just that knowledge makes it a special job; you are re-creating history again and not many people can say that.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Archaeology Digs - Summer 2012

We're looking for Archaeology digs that you can volunteer for this summer 2012. If anyone knows of any good projects going on, whether Uni-based, locally based or any other organisations - we want to hear! Please post info and links below.

Career Case Study - Interview with Caroline Sloan

Where did you graduate and what are you doing now?
I graduated with BA(Hons) Archaeology from the University of Reading in 2005. 

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology?
Initially I worked for the Special Events dept at Cliveden House Hotel (von Essen Hotels), Taplow.  I arranged weddings, private dinners, parties, exclusive use of the property for an assortment of people.  I was there when the Gerrard wedding took place - and had a small part to play in organising the wedding!  I thought working at Cliveden would enable me to look for jobs within the National Trust whether it was looking after collections or learning how to manage an old property.  I never intended to undertake fieldwork as I was always more interested in museums and collections.

However, I moved to New Zealand where I bought a 32 acre cattle farm.  I also worked for a law firm and began studying the legal executive course.  But after two years living in NZ I decided to move back to the UK.

I am now the office manager for a trade association in the HVACR industry and have started studying MA Archaeology at the University of Reading part time.

I am also a published author.  I started writing whilst living in NZ and used my background in archaeology to develop a story based on Brazilian mythology, Scythian warriors and an assortment of crazy happenings as you'd expect from a fantasy fiction novel!  The book is called Iara.

How has a degree in archaeology benefited your career?
Having a degree in archaeology has actually been beneficial in every aspect of my varied careers!  Archaeology isn't one subject - it's a discipline that encapsulates numerous subjects, theories and concepts.  With event and project management, the fieldwork aspect of archaeology comes into play.  How do you organise a dig - well, it's the same method as how you would organise an event.  There is a fair amount of research that has to be undertaken in an archaeology degree and this is the same when it comes to law.  I was learning about intellectual property as part of my legal executive course in NZ and had I not had the background in archaeology, where I knew how to research in detail, I would have struggled! 

Would you go back into Archaeology later down the line?
Archaeology is a passion.  I love learning about how we developed into the society we see before us.  The steps that we took from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a sedentary farming existence to the champions of technology in the 21st century.  I am studying archaeology at postgraduate level because I want to learn more.  Every archaeologist knows that the past is the key to our future, and I want to be prepared for a future of knowledge and understanding.  I will use my archaeology degrees in my future, but it will be for my career as an author.  I want to bring archaeology to the 'mainstream' and show them that not all archaeology involves a bulldozer and a time limit.  I want people to know that archaeology is a fascinating subject with a future.