journal, university

Intro to being a pro

In first lecture of Introduction to Professional Archaeology, they went into the discussion of what it means to be a “professional”.

This is something that surprised me. In all my years at school this was only mentioned once in passing as “being paid for your knowledge”. That was it!

Who knew that there is a whole oeuvre about professionalism out there in the world.

There is no hard definition about what makes a profession, but there is a consensus that the criteria include:

• having an established system of technical skills and knowledge in a specialty

• having your skills toolkit transferable into a different setting fairly comfortably – if you exclude this criterion, what you are doing is then a job.

• community sanction*, as in, an in-group that agrees you can work as one of them

• a standard of ethical conduct.

When I think of the word “professional” my mind wants to conjure an image of a suit and tie, which is probably not necessarily in the criteria.

Professionals tend to be thought of as having a healthy income, but Archaeology is an example that we should really regard professions as “an attitude, not a rate of pay”.

A good question they asked was: would you consider painting as a profession, or a trade?

I mean, houses do get professionally painted so I would have said both.

What do you think makes a profession?

Some fun archaeological facts uncovered during this week’s content:

• Beer was invented over five thousand years ago, as is confirmed by the discovery of breweries in Ancient Egypt. Drinking beer was safer than drinking water because the fermentation process stopped people of antiquity from getting dysentery.

• A lot of what we know about modern landfills was confirmed by archaeologists. I know from background reading this is called garbology.

• It is a complete myth that biodegradable items going into the trash is better than plastic (because of methane being released), and

• Hot dogs have been found entirely intact in landfill strata estimated to be several decades old. Ew…


More fun stuff to come! I will do my best not to make this blog a repackaging of the whole university course.

*how the word sanction can mean both approval and political ostracism, I am very interested to know.

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