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.

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