Like Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, you too can unearth ancient mysteries buried in the sands of time!
The adventurous nature of archaeology as portrayed by Dr. Jones or Lara Croft indulges a Hollywood script, nevertheless there is adventure in discovery and expanding your knowledge of history.
Many archaeological sites reside in exotic locations or culturally significant areas and omit an ambience of ancient heritage. Emmersed in the surroundings, sifting through sand and crumbled earth – the spirit for exploration will inevitably surface, along with your sense of adventure!
Become an Apprentice Archaeologist.
You don’t require a degree in history to take part in an archaeological excavation and volunteers are always welcome. Encouraging the public to get hands on with history, many archaeological societies and scientific or historical institutes offer volunteer opportunities. Some require a small fee for membership which helps fund further exploration and often includes perks such as, access to museums, special events, workshops, newsletters and so on.
Here is a few to look into.
Founded in 1879 and chartered by Congress in 1906, the Archaeological Institute of America is America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to archaeology. It offers extensive list of fieldwork opportunities available through its Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin. The AIA also coordinates many outreach programs to elementary, middle, and high school students.
Projects Abroad list volunteer and internship opportunities for various professions and interests including archaeology. Some listings also enable volunteers to combine fieldwork with community projects in the area.
The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) provide volunteers with a range of excavation, restoration, conservation projects and educational programs to choose from. Those interested in ancient architecture can search for opportunities under Building Casework with local options listed under Community Archaeology. Networking opportunities and an online shop present further resources to develop your knowledge and passion for archaeology.
Passport in Time is a volunteer program of the U.S. Forest Service. Activities include surveying and excavation, restoration, archival research, and analysis and curation of artifacts. The program is free, although volunteers are responsible for their own transportation and lodging.
eCultural Resources keeps an Archaeology Field School and Volunteer Directory, allowing you to search for opportunities close to home or perhaps located near a vacation destination. Field schools offer academic credit and usually charge a fee to participate. Some volunteer opportunities are free, whilst others have a fee associated with them.
Earthwatch Institute offers a wide range of opportunities around the world, from archaeological digs to scientific discovery expeditions. Helping you cover the cost of travel, Earthwatch partners with Travelocity’s Travel for Good program, which provides grants to help fund volunteer missions around the world.
Past Horizons is a website where you can search for opportunities around the world. You can also purchase tools and other gear for your adventures in archaeology from their online store.

Inga Yandell
Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.