ARCY3011 Australian Archaeology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Archaeology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Level 3 elective
This unit focuses on the entire human history of Australia from first human colonisation ~65,000 years ago and through the arrival of Makassan traders and later European voyagers and colonists in the last 1000 years. This unit pairs theory such as culture history, processualism and post-processualism with informative case studies such as the Lake Mungo burials, human adaptations to climate change, rock art, colonial contact and Indigenous knowledge. Each case study is examined in terms of methods used, personalities involved, findings made, and how that research has informed our understanding of Australia's past. Contemporary issues such as heritage management, DNA analysis, repatriation and museum studies help students understand future trends in Australian archaeology.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge of the archaeological contribution to understanding the history of human occupation of Australia; (2) demonstrate an understanding of the major schools of theory influencing archaeological thought and how these have been applied to Australian archaeological case studies; (3) demonstrate a critical and reflective understanding of ethical issues relevant to the Indigenous occupation of Australia as well as subsequent non-Indigenous settlers/invaders; (4) demonstrate the skills required to link theory to specific archaeological case studies, using appropriate methods; and (5) independently and critically undertake research through the collection and interpretation of archaeological information and report on this process both orally and through written expression.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) tutorial assignment; 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)
Professor Jo McDonald
Unit rules
Completion of 12 points of Level 1 Archaeology units and 6 points of Level 2 Archaeology units
ARCY3005 Archaeology of Indigenous Australia
ARCY3008 Archaeological Method and Theory
Incidental fees
Incidental student fees and charges are costs incurred by students as part of their studies at UWA that are in addition to their tuition fees (further information is available here or contact your Faculty Office).
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s):
field trip (estimated cost - $20).
Contact hours
Lectures: 1 hour per week
Tutorials: 1 hour per week
This is an essential Unit for anyone wishing to practice archaeology in Australia or South-East Asia.

No prescribed text but reccommended are:

Griffiths, Billy. 2018. Deep time Dreaming: uncovering ancient Australia. Carlton: Black. Inc

Hiscock, Peter. 2007. The archaeology of ancient Australia. London: Routledge

  • 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.