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Dr. Joyce Ann Tyldesley is a Britisth archaeologist, author and is “Dr. Dig” for the children's publication Dig, a Cobblestone Publication

1. Can you explain to young people just what an archaeologist is?

An archaeologist is someone who studies the human past by examining material remains (“things”). These remains, which can include artifacts and bones, are usually discovered by excavating, or “digging”.

2. What is the best part of your job?

Definitely the best part of my job is that I get to go out of the office and dig around in dirt! Being the first person to see an artifact that has been lost for thousands of years is thrilling. I also love the fact that I get to travel, and meet a whole range of people.

3. What would you say is the most difficult aspect of being an archaeologist?

The most difficult part of being an archaeologist is that it can be hard to get funding for important excavations, and difficult to get a full-time job.

4. Do you have a memory you’d like to share concerning your job? 

I will never forget my first excavation in Egypt. Working alongside the ancient monuments was a fantastic experience, and in my days off I was able to visit the ancient sites.

5. What are the necessary skills/degrees needed to become an archaeologist?

Archaeologists need a very wide range of skills, and come form a wide range of backgrounds. Some specialize in excavating, or digging, others in the conservation or preservation of finds. Some have a scientific education, others specialize in history, languages or drawing. It is not necessary to have a degree to be an archaeologist, although anyone wishing to work in a museum or a university will probably find that they need one. Most university lecturers have a PhD.

6. Any suggestions for young people who might be interested in your career?

It is a good idea to read as much as possible about archaeology, look at as many museums as you can (either real museums, or museums on the web) and try to get some experience of working on a dig or in a museum. This will help you to decide which aspect of archaeology interests you most (Egyptology, for example, or Classical Rome, or China; there are lots of possibilities). Then consider studying for a formal qualification connected to your chosen study area.

7. Where can you work as an archaeologist?

Almost anywhere! But most archaeologists in full-time jobs are employed by universities, museums and local councils.

8 . Describe a day at your job?

When I am in England my mornings are usually spent on the computer, teaching my on-line students, answering emails and writing books. In the afternoon I move to my desk at the Museum, where I work with the Egyptology collection. My holidays are usually spent in Egypt, visiting sites, surveying and excavating. When I am working in Egypt I have to start work very early in the morning, before the sun gets too hot! We stop work in the afternoon to clean and record our finds and have a rest. We go to be very early to be ready for the early start next morning!

9. What got you interested in becoming an archaeologist?

I live in the North West of England, an area which is lucky enough to be filled with museums. I used to visit as a child, and just became fascinated by the whole subject.

10. Where do you currently work as an archaeologist?

I work at the KNH centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester, England and in the Egyptology department of the Manchester Museum

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