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 focusses on the deep human history of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. The region is playing an increasingly important role in archaeological research and for our understanding of the global story of humanity. Recent years have seen the uncovering of the oldest dated rock art in the world in Indonesia and the region was home to the earliest seafarers, who first settled Australia and New Guinea ca. 65,000 years ago. The ancestors of today's Aboriginal people experienced and successfully overcame dramatic environmental changes over many thousands of years and successfully settled in a wide range of landscapes using a variety of social and economic techniques and adaptations. A similarly extraordinary ingenuity was displayed by those people who ventured into the island world of the Pacific. The settlement of the greatest ocean on the planet remains one of the most extraordinary feats of the human story. Long before European colonisation, the Indo-Pacific was a region of extraordinary stories of human exploration, persistence, trade, contact, and a diversity of ways of living. These stories are carried forward by many contemporary cultural traditions in the region, which preserve important aspects of humanity's heritage through ongoing historical connections. This unit engages with these topics through a range of key case studies such as the Lake Mungo burials or the archaeo-environmental evidence of Easter Island/Rapa Nui. The critical evaluation of contemporary issues such as collaborative research approaches and heritage management matters, DNA analysis, and repatriation concerns allows students to appreciate the ongoing relevance of archaeological knowledge for the future of Australia in the Indo-Pacific.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Archaeology major sequence
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) analyse the current contribution of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence to the understanding of the human settlement of Australia, New Guinea, Southeast Asia, and the whole Indo-Pacific region.; (2) understand the major schools of theory influencing archaeological thought and how these have been applied to Australian and Indo-Pacific archaeological evidence and interpretations.; (3) understand the ethical issues relevant to research into the Indigenous occupation of Australia and the Indo-Pacific as well as subsequent non-Indigenous settlers/invaders.; (4) apply research skills to link theoretical approaches and frameworks and appropriate methods to specific archaeological case studies.; (5) create research outputs in appropriate written and oral forms based on the collection and interpretation of archaeological information.; and (6) evaluate the impact of climatic, physical, and environmental factors in the understanding of the settlement and occupation of Australia and the Indo-Pacific.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay or presentation; (2) tutorial assignment; and (3) seminar participation and /or quizzes. 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 Emilie Dotte
Unit rules
Successful completion of ARCY1001 Think Like an Archaeologist
and ARCY1002 Experimenting with Archaeology and one of
ARCY2000 The Archaeology of Creativity
or ARCY2006 Archaeology of Death
or ARCY2100 Heritage Futures
or ARCY2220 Doing Archaeology: Fieldschool
ARCY3005 Archaeology of Indigenous Australia
and ARCY3008 Archaeological Method and Theory
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).
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s):
field trip (estimated cost - $20).
Contact hours
3-hour seminar 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:

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 is an essential Unit for anyone wishing to practice archaeology in Australia or South-East Asia.

No prescribed text but reccommended are:

Griffiths, Billy. 2018. Deep time Dreaming: uncovering ancient Australia. Carlton: Black. Inc

Hiscock, Peter. 2007. The archaeology of ancient Australia. London: Routledge

  • 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.