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 investigates rock art as a global but culturally diverse phenomenon over the past 100 000 years that defines us as modern humans. The unit is taught by world experts from UWA's renowned Centre for Rock Art Research + Management. Topics cover: rock art dating, pigment analysis, interpretation of rock art, Indigenous perspectives, symbolic behaviour, conservation, and intellectual property issues.The unit provides students with the skill to understand visual communication cross-culturally and the ethics of images. This unit is a prerequisite for the ARCY2005 Rock Art Field School, which provides essential hands-on skills.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1OnlineOnline timetabled
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of the theories and methods archaeologists use to identify, record and interpret rock art in scientific and culturally appropriate manners, as well as recognising the emerging role of digital technology in this process; (2) demonstrate an understanding and ethical appreciation of rock art, the antiquity of rock art and its cultural heritage value in a global context; (3) explain current conservation practices used in the management of rock art and their implications for archaeology; (4) comprehend archaeological literature, specialised terminology and data, and communicate this in an appropriate manner both orally and through written expression; and (5) demonstrate critical reading skills and source criticism.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) test; and (3) tutorial assignments. 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)
Professor Jo McDonald and Professor Joakim Goldhahn
Unit rules
12 points of Level 1 study
Contact hours
Lectures: 1 x 1 hour per week
Tutorials: 1 x 1 hour per week
Note that this Unit is a pre-requisite for ARCY2005 Rock Art Fieldschool. ARCY2005 places students in live fieldwork situations working with archaeologists, Indigenous partners, Industry partners and the public and is a great Work Integrated Learning experience.

Optional but recommended:

McDonald, J. & Veth, P. 2012. A Companion to Rock Art. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Smith, B. W., Helskog, K. & Morris, D. 2012. Working with Rock Art: recording, presenting and understanding rock art using indigenous knowledge. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Whitley, D. S. 2001. Rock art and rock art research in worldwide perspective, in Whitley, D. S. (ed.), Handbook of rock art research: 7–51. Lanham, CA: Altamira Press. 

Copies of these books in the  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.
  • 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.