The COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic recession it has fostered, loom large over Live Science’s archaeology predictions for 2021. While the development of vaccines is promising, it will be sometime before they can be distributed to a large proportion of the world’s population. 

As such, archaeologists will likely continue to experiment with new ways of doing their work. They will likely rely more than ever on new digging and survey methods that use smaller teams of locally based archaeologists, complimented by many more researchers helping analyze finds virtually. The days of archaeologists holding large conferences in hotels may also be coming to an end, as the pandemic has demonstrated that virtual archaeology conferences are cheaper, more popular and gives a much wider audience the chance to watch and participate. Additionally there are indications that lockdowns and economic recession have led to an uptick in looting and art thefts.