Martin Carver in the editorial to the current issue of Antiquity:
If the PhD is an apprenticeship, why does it include no formal training in fieldwork—our method of recovering primary data? Quite apart from the fact that the world is already full of academics who don’t know how to dig (but think they do), not every doctoral student is destined for a job in a university. The commercial sector, as archaeology’s largest employer, needs their talents too—but it would help if they were trained. Six months in the ﬁeld, out of 36 months in a library, strikes me as a minimum (leaving 30 months to write four articles).
Meanwhile what of the students who are not doing PhDs, but want to be archaeologists;
do they fare any better? No they don’t. It has become ever more difficult for promising young people to gain access to the profession. The old way was simple enough: you volunteered and received training in exchange for your labour. Now you pay to be trained or indeed, in some reprehensible cases, pay not to be trained. So what are you paying for?: to buy an experience without making any commitment to it, known in other walks of life as prostitution.