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


Students meet weekly to critically discuss key readings applied to archaeology as practiced in academic, museological, cultural heritage management, and indigenous contexts. The unit has two parts. The first progresses chronologically, illustrating how archaeological thinking has developed and conveys the importance of historical context in evaluating research. The second part investigates contemporary themes such as agency, art and symbolism, materiality, origins, phenomenology, reflexivity, technology, time and landscape. Seminars are tied to instructive case studies. Where possible, this unit is tailored to address the specific honours dissertation topics being pursued by students.

6 points

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of the history of archaeological theory and key case studies; (2) critically review archaeological literature with respect to its theoretical position and achieve an understanding of the relationship between archaeological theory, method and data; (3) acquire the skills to identify and apply appropriate theory to your own research projects; (4) demonstrate a critical and reflexive understanding of ethical issues relevant to the use of archaeological theory and practice; and (5) demonstrate participation and presentation skills during seminars by utilising critical reading skills and source criticism.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation and (2) essays. 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 participation component.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Martin Porr
Unit rules
enrolled in honours Archaeology
Contact hours
Seminars: 2 hours per week

Recommended Reading

Johnson, Matthew. 2009. Archaeological theory: an introduction, 2nd edition. London: Wiley.

  • 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.