ARCY1001 Great Discoveries in Global Archaeology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Archaeology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Arts students where relevant according to the broadening requirements for each student
  • Level 1 elective
This unit introduces the philosophical and scientific concepts and techniques that archaeologists use to understand the human past and its relationship to the world today. Students learn how archaeologists identify, date, analyse, interpret and manage artefacts and sites. These skills are taught using over 40 examples of 'great discoveries' from around the world such as: 3.3 million year-old stone tools from Africa, the site of Homer's Troy at Hissarlik in Turkey, ancient DNA from Indigenous Australians, and even how war and conflicts affects the world's cultural heritage and how we manage it. This unit is an essential first step in learning how to think like an archaeologist and teaches core practical and conception skills. In parallel, the unit provides students with a global cultural context in which to understand both past human life and the contemporary ethics and awareness of dealing with sensitive issues of cultural heritage. It is a unit that is both worthwhile, and fun!
Students are able to (1) identify the main materials of archaeology and how they are preserved; (2) describe the main recording, dating and analysis techniques used in archaeological investigations; (3) explain how archaeologists reconstruct past human behaviour from material remains; (4) describe the types of questions that have driven archaeological research; (5) describe the development of archaeological theory, method, ethics and global cultural awareness; (6) demonstrate their awareness of the ethical context in which archaeology is practiced; (7) write according to scientific conventions and be familiar with different forms of archaeological description; and (8) develop communication skills in group discussions.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes; (2) tutorial assignments; and (3) essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Martin Porr
Unit rules
ARCY1101 Digging up the Past
Contact hours
lectures: 2 x 45 minutes; Practical Classes: 1 x 45 minutes per week (attendance compulsory)
Note that the weekly 90-minute lectures involve in-class practical activities that are fun and that develop student's archaeological skills.

Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. Archaeology: theories, method and practice, 7th edn: Thames & Hudson 2016

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