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


Humans are uniquely creative creatures. Human creativity has fundamentally shaped who we are today and has produced the dazzling variety of cultural expressions of human societies around the globe. This unit addresses where, when, and how we originated and why we became the creative beings we are today. We analyse the biological and cultural factors in the archaeological and palaeoanthropological record from about three million years to about 10,000 years ago, when all continents (apart from Antarctica) were settled by people. We examine the global archaeological evidence of relationships between cultural and biological processes that produce the diversity of humanity we experience today. A key aspect of the unit is the engagement with the emergence of human creative and artistic behaviours such as the world-wide record of rock art imagery. The unit provides students with the skills to understand visual communication cross-culturally and in the deep human past. Students also reflect on where evolution will take us in the future and on how we might help to ensure a just and cultured world. The unit is taught by world experts from UWA's renowned Centre for Rock Art Research + Management. Topics include human cognitive evolution, the origins of human artistic practices, rock art dating, pigment analysis, interpretation of rock art, Indigenous perspectives, symbolic behaviour, conservation, and intellectual property issues.

6 points
AvailabilityLocationModeFirst year of offer
Not available in 2023UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) explain the key archaeological evidence (including rock art) of human origins and the emergence of creative behaviours, cultures, and cognition; (2) analyse the ethical issues surrounding archaeological research of human origins and rock art; (3) recognise the scientific and culturally appropriate theories and methods used to identify, record, and interpret rock art, including emerging digital technologies ; (4) engage with relevant archaeological and rock art research literature, terminology, and data, and communicate using current archaeological conventions ; and (5) evaluate current conservation practices of archaeological evidence including rock art.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) quizzes; and (3) tutorial assignment. 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
Successful completion of
level 1 12 points
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:
  • 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.