Frequently Asked Questions
I want to join into a particular excavation, is it still running?
It is possible that few excavations are cancelled and I am not aware of it. Please, ask directly the person mentioned in the contact details of the specific excavation you are interested in.
By the way: if the excavation has indeed ended, please let me know and I remove it from my list.
I want to apply for this dig...
Please ask not me (except you are interested in excavations I am responsible for, of course), but directly the person mentioned in the contact details of the dig you are interested in!
What qualifications do I need to participate in an excavation?
There are several digs who accept interested layman as volunteers, like Inverloch in Australia or Espéraza in France. In Germany, on the other hand, it is somewhat difficult to get a place at a museum's excavation if you are not a geology or paleontology student. However, contact the excavation managers and ask them for details.
My kid is an avid student of dinosaurs and 10-14 year old. We are looking for a fossil dig that would give a realistic picture of what a paleontologist really does. Where can we participate?
You best bet would probably be to join in a guided dig or tour, as offered by some museums. These are commercial digs (which means you have to pay for it) but you get the right impression of paleontological work and kids can participate.
You can find a list of possible institutions here:
How much money can I earn on an excavation?
Well, be aware that paleontology is generally not a big money making business and that every year the museums usually struggle to keep the digs alive. Said that, accommodation and food are often free on digs. Several German digs offer even a weekly payment of 125 Euros per week for students.
How long are excavations running?
This is strongly dependent on the dig. Most of the excavations are active every summer. These digs can be open from two weeks to several month.
For how long do I have to participate?
The minimum stay at most excavations is 1 or 2 weeks. Some dig managers accept volunteers only for a duration of at least a month.
What are the costs of joining in a dig?
In most cases you only have to cover your own travel expenses.
Can I join in digs in other countries?
While the general answer is yes, this is of course depending on many factors:
Do you need a visa or a working permit?
Do you want to earn money on that excavation?
You should always discuss such questions with the people responsible for the dig you want to join.
As for German digs: as far as I know, international students do not need any kind of work permit if the work lasts for three months or less per year. Also, residents of EU member states don't need a work permit in general.
What are the chances of being accepted?
- apply early
- clearly state your high interest in your participation
- are flexible in your time schedule