Re: What does an anthropologist do?

Jonathan Woodall (
Sun, 22 Oct 1995 05:48:52 GMT

In article <>,
<> wrote:
>I'm interested in this field. Can you please tell me exactly what an
>anthropologist does? What kind of education does this field require?
Ok. Anthropologists do a wide variety of things. They have
various specialties, and others who will reply to your post can give a
better picture than I can.
Roughly though, there are physical anthropologists, archaeological
anthropologists, linguistic anthropologists and cultural
anthropologists. Physical anthropologists study the biology of
man throughout the ages, and focus on the remains of men from former
ages. Archaeological anthropologists study the cultural remains of
civilizations of a certain age, with hobbies such as digging up ancient
and not-quite-so-ancient cities. Linguistic anthropologists study the
languages of man. Cultural anthropologists study the culture of man (I
would define culture, but doing so around anthropologists opens a big can
of worms that I don't want to get into. They fight over the definition of
culture constantly.) Suffice it to say that the guys who you see in the
movies sitting around studying peoples of tiny little Pacific islands,
etc. are cultural anthropologists.
As far as the education one needs, I would reccomend getting a
doctorate to actually DO anything significant in the field. One of my
high-school guidance counselors had a BA in anthropology, and said that
all he was able to do with it was go around the state and assist people
in archaeological digs, and endeavour for which he was paid the minimum wage.
With a doctorate you will most likely wind up working for a
university or museum. There are a few other places you might wind up
working, but these are rather rare and I won't expend my time discussing
I hope this was of some assistance.

Freshman, North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC
"God is in the details."