UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

ARCY1002 Archaeology Today: Principles and Themes

Credit 6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Archaeology major sequence
  • Category B broadening unit for Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Design students
  • Level 1 elective
Content This unit provides an introduction to how archaeology is practised today. In tutorials, laboratory sessions and practical classes, students learn how evidence is used in archaeological investigations, and the key issues and themes that inform archaeology today, such as: What makes us human? How can DNA tell us about human history? How did people adapt to climate change in the past? How did Indigenous people manage contact with Europeans? Students are also given insight into the huge variety of specialist study fields like Archaeobotany, Archaeozoology, Archaeological Dating, Historical Archaeology, Indigenous Archaeology, Residue Analysis, Rock Art and so on. Importantly, they are taught the skill of interpretation and assembling archaeological evidence into convincing explanations. These theses and issues are illustrated in relation to key finds and sites and are critically discussed using case studies.
Outcomes 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) have an understanding of the methods that are currently used by archaeologists to reconstruct past human behaviour from material remains; (4) describe the most important themes and topics that currently guide archaeological research; (5) write according to scientific conventions and be familiar with different forms of archaeological description; (6) develop communication skills in group discussions; and (7) demonstrate critical reading skills and source criticism.
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) tests; (2) artefact assignment; and (3) tutorial assignments. 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) Dr Sean Winter
Unit rules
Incompatibility: ARCY1102 Archaeology of Tribes and Empires
Contact hours 3 hours per week
Unit Outlinehttp://www.unitoutlines.arts.uwa.edu.au/Units/ARCY1002/SEM-2/2017

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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.