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.

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Unit Overview


Does heritage have a future? Should the engagement with heritage always focus on material preservation? What is the role of heritage in future debates about a socially and environmentally sustainable future? This unit will engage with questions surrounding the role of heritage in society today. Contrary to popular imagination, the engagement with heritage is not about the past. It is fundamentally directed at the future. The study of heritage is about the preservation of the past for the future. What kind of past is implied here? What kind of future is envisaged here? Who controls both? The last decades have seen an almost exponential increase in the interest in the study and understanding of heritage from museum collections, sacred Indigenous sites to landscapes and seascapes. As the destruction of the rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in 2020 has demonstrated that heritage is always contested and subject to a range of interests and variable notions of time and materiality, which impact definitions and management approaches. The unit will be taught by experienced specialists from the School of Social Sciences with expertise in heritage studies, archaeology, urban planning, linguistics, anthropology, and political sciences. This unit will be useful for anyone with an interest in the sustainable future of humanity and the preservation of the humanity's many extraordinary legacies.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Archaeology major sequence

Students are able to (1) analyse the ethical issues surrounding heritage research and management; (2) recognise the scientific and culturally appropriate theories and methods used to record, interpret, and manage heritage issues; (3) engage with relevant heritage literature, terminology, and data, and communicate using current conventions; (4) explain the current practices and challenges of the interpretation, management, and preservation of different types of heritage, and the implications for stakeholders and communities; and (5) evaluate the impact of heritage issues on political decision-making and policy development.


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)
Dr Laura Mayer
Unit rules
Successful completion of
12 points Unit(s) in your chosen degree
Contact hours
3 hours
1 hour lecture + 2 hours seminar per week
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.

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.
  • 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.