• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Archaeology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Simon Haberle
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2014
    See Future Offerings

What can the past tell us about our future? Much of what we know of the deeper past comes from the remains of microscopic organisms and sediment properties found in depositional settings around the world. In Australia and the Asia-Pacific region there is a rich body of evidence for past changes in climate and biodiversity that is only just beginning to be explored. The course combines in-class learning, annd a 7 day fieldtrip to the Wet Tropics of northeast Queensland, with ‘hands-on’ experience in field collection and analysis of a range of palaeo-environmental indicators including pollen, charcoal, seeds, biogenic silica, and stable isotopes. This will provide students with a deeper understanding and the practical skills to engage in palaeoecology, archaeological science, palaeoclimatology, and natural resource management research.

7 day fieldwork component costs: $900 + return airfare from Canberra to Cairns

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Describe the natural and anthropogenic drivers of past environmental change at a global as well as regional level.
  2. Describe and explain the techniques that are used to reconstruct past environmental conditions in Australia and abroad.
  3. Analyse and reconstruct past environmental conditions using appropriate field and laboratory techniques.
  4. Interpret palaeo-environmental data from a range of sedimentary contexts.
  5. Reflect on the natural and human influences that explain past environmental conditions and be able to communicate these in ways appropriate to a range of audiences.
  6. Present research data in a journal article format.


Indicative Assessment

Assessment Task

Word Count

Assessment Value

Tutorial presentation. Verbal summary of a selected research paper from the course reading guide



Multiple choice exam (25 questions) based on lecture content



Fieldtrip report based on daily entries to the Fieldtrip Diary (questions and observations)



Poster assessment delivered as a poster and oral presentation



Laboratory analysis report



The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


  • One week lectures and small group discussions at ANU culminating in an exam.
  • Two weeks based in the Wet Tropics of northern Australia (JCU Cairns-Atherton-Chillagoe region), including lectures, field data collection and laboratory analysis culminating in a 1 day mini-conference for posters with supporting oral presentation.
  • Contact hours for course can be broken down as follows.
    Lectures = 24hr
    Small group discussion = 20hr
    Laboratory work =18hr
    Fieldwork = 4.5 days

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the School of Culture History and Language to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts


  • Tuniz, C., Gillespie, R. and Jones, C. 2009. The Bone Readers: Atoms, genes and the politics of Australia's deep past. Allen and Unwin, Sydney.
  • Steffen, Will et al. 2009. Australia's biodiversity and climate change. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.
  • Williams, M. A. J., Dunkerley, D.L., DeDeckker. P., Kershaw, A.P. and Chappell J. M. A. 1998. Quaternary Environments. 2nd ed. London, Edward Arnold.
  • Battarbee, R. and Binney, H.A. Editors. 2008. Natural Climate Variability and Global Warming: A Holocene Perspective. Wiley-Blackwell, UK.
  • Elias, S. Editor. 2007. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. London, Wiley. (Available online though ANU)


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1218
2014 $2808
2013 $2808
2012 $2808
2011 $2778
2010 $2718
2009 $2670
2008 $2592
2007 $2298
2006 $2190
2005 $2190
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3402
2014 $3942
2013 $3942
2012 $3942
2011 $3942
2010 $3942
2009 $3816
2008 $3816
2007 $3816
2006 $3816
2005 $3816
2004 $3816
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
5680 01 Jul 2014 18 Jul 2014 18 Jul 2014 30 Sep 2014 In Person N/A

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