Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

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

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA

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 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 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 fun!
6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1OnlineOnline timetabled
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Archaeology major sequence
  • Level 1 elective
Students are able to (1) explain how archaeologists reconstruct past human behaviour from material remains; (2) write according to scientific conventions and be familiar with different forms of archaeological description; (3) demonstrate their awareness of the ethical context in which archaeology is practiced

; and (4) synthesise archaeological literature in order to understand how knowledge of the past is constructed, and transmit this information to others.
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)
Associate Professor Martin Porr
Unit rules
ARCY1101 Digging up the Past
Contact hours
3 hours per week
Note that the weekly 2 hour Seminar involves in-class practical activities that are fun and that develop student's archaeological skills. Participation is highly desirable. The Lecture Capture System does not record these hands-on activities.

Renfrew, Colin and Paul Bahn. 2016. Archaeology: theories, method and practice, 7th edn: London: Thames & Hudson. Available fromBooktopiaand Reid Library.

  • 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.