ARCY3002 Archaeological Field Skills

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Archaeology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This Unit provides intensive training in essential archaeological field skills. Students receive hands-on instruction before and after the field school and learn to: formulate a research design, satisfy all legal, safety and ethical compliances, conduct field surveys, create and use artefact and site recording forms, recognise and excavate stratified deposits, take samples for radiocarbon dating, use camera equipment, use survey equipment for site and topographical mapping, prepare and create section drawings, process finds, analyse finds, store finds, and publish results. During fieldwork students develop skills working in teams and with stakeholders such as land owners, Indigenous Australians, media, and the public. The final report is an output that can be listed on the student's professional CV.
Students are able to (1) independently and critically undertake research through crafting a research design relevant to the field school; (2) successfully undertake survey and mapping using appropriate skills and methods; (3) successfully conduct an excavation/surface collection using appropriate skills and methods; (4) successfully undertake archaeological processing using appropriate skills and methods; (5) successfully use recording forms using appropriate skills and methods; (6) successfully work in a team in field conditions in a safe, efficient and ethical manner; and (7) demonstrate good observational skills in the preparation of recording forms and a field journal.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-field exercises and participation; (2) report of field diary; and (3) weekly group assignments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the in-field exercises and participation component.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Sven Ouzman
Unit rules
12 points of Level 1 Archaeology Units and at least 6 points of Level 2 Archaeology Units.
Students must be physically fit or, if differently abled, inform Unit Co-ordinator. All medical conditions must be disclosed to ensure Occupational Health and Safety compliance.
Approved quota: 45—selection is based on weighted average mark (WAM) in Archaeology Units
Incidental fees
Incidental student fees and charges are costs incurred by students as part of their studies at UWA that are in addition to their tuition fees (further information is available here or contact your Faculty Office).
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s):
(1) Field School (within metro area) (estimated cost - $200)
(2) Field School (outside metro area) (estimated cost - $200).
Contact hours
Lecture-Practical: 2 hours per week
Field school: 7-12 days held in the mid-semester break
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
The field work component runs for ~7-12 days, usually during the mid-semester break. Students should ensure that they are able to attend every day of the field school during these times. Students should not enroll for this unit if they are unable to attend each day of the fieldschool or the lecture-practicals before and after the fieldschool. This is a great Work Integrated Learning experience that teaches essential archaeological skills in a real-world situation. And it is fun!

There is a $200 incidental fee for this unit to cover fieldwork related costs which will be either within the Perth metro or a regional area.

Burke, Heather, Michael Morrison  and Claire Smith. 2017. The archaeologist's field handbook. Crow's Nest: Allen & Unwin.

Book is available in electronic and hard copy in 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.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.