ARCY2006 Archaeology of Death

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Archaeology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Level 2 elective
This unit explores 'death' in literal and metaphoric senses across all human cultures over the past 3 million years. Indeed, it is how we treat 'death' that is one of the defining characteristics of being human. Death can also include 'objects' held to be living in certain Indigenous knowledge systems. This unit describes the skills archaeologists and forensic analysts need, such as: awareness of the ethics, legislation, occupational health and safety and culturally-appropriate protocols in studying death. There is also technical expertise in identifying, recording and interpreting mortuary contexts, grave goods, and DNA. Topical questions such as whether Neanderthals buried their dead are also addressed. This unit does not address archaeological forensics, which is dealt with in FNSC2200 Mysteries of Forensic Science.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of the appropriate theory and method used in studying the archaeology of death; (2) demonstrate a critical and reflexive understanding and knowledge of and sensitivity to the ethical, legislative and occupational health and safety requirements involved in the study of the archaeology of death; (3) demonstrate an understanding of the cross-disciplinary linkages an archaeology of death has with, among other things, anatomy, anthropology, ethics, and Indigenous studies; (4) demonstrate comprehension of archaeological literature, specialised terminology and data; and (5) demonstrate appropriate oral and written communication skills..
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) tutorial assignments; and (3) quizzes. 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 Sven Ouzman
Unit rules
12 points of Level 1 study
Advisable prior study:
a background in biological
social sciences
Contact hours
Lectures: 1 hour per week
Tutorials: 1 hour per week
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
This Unit is a useful introduction to FNSC2200 Mysteries of Forensic Science, which is a practice and lab-based Unit.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • 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 via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.