Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit is an essential first step in learning how to think like an archaeologist and teaches core practical and conceptual skills. Students learn how archaeologists identify, date, analyse, interpret, and manage artefacts and sites. These skills are taught with reference to exciting case studies from around the world such as 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Africa, the oldest temple at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the earliest colonisation of Australia and the Americas. The unit will also provide opportunities to learn about the use of ancient DNA to understand the past and even how war affects the world's cultural heritage. This unit provides students with a global cultural context in which to understand both past human life and contemporary ethics in relation to cultural heritage. It is a unit that is worthwhile and inspiring – and fun!

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Archaeology major sequence
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) remember different archaeological research traditions and approaches; (2) understand ethical issues relevant to archaeological practice and heritage management.; (3) analyse the relationship between archaeological research questions, types of archaeological evidence, and the application of appropriate research methods.; (4) remember core archaeological field, laboratory, and analytical techniques.; (5) analyse basic archaeological information and appropriately report on the results both orally and through written expression.; and (6) understand the impact of physical processes and environmental contexts on archaeological evidence and interpretations..


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes; (2) tutorial assignments; and (3) essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Emilie Dotte
Unit rules
ARCY1101 Digging up the Past
Contact hours
3 hours per week
This unit teaches skills and content that are recognised and can be recorded as Group A and/or Group B Skills according to the Australian Archaeology Skills Passport of the Australian Archaeological Association:

To deliver the individual and group learning outcomes of this unit, participation in all learning experiences and assessment tasks is essential. Non-participation will result in some, or all vital content being missed, marks not earned, and/or penalties being applied.

The weekly 2-hour lecture involves in-class practical activities that are fun and develop your archaeological skills. Participation is highly desirable. The Lecture Capture System does not fully record these hands-on activities. Students enrolled in this unit have the opportunity to participate in an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip and learn directly from WAM curators about some of the stories behind the exhibition displays of Perth's biggest museum

There is no compulsory textbook for this unit. All required readings for this unit are available online or via the Reid Library. However, a good reference book is Renfrew, Colin and Paul Bahn 2020. Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice. London: Thames & Hudson.

  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.