• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Archaeology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Anthony Barham
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

Examining and quickly assessing materials (e.g. bone, stone, plants and deposits) form routine tasks on archaeological excavations, after sampling and during post-excavation research. This course provides flexibly delivered practical training introducing materials and assemblages commonly encountered during archaeological and forensic site investigations. Emphasis is on acquiring "hands-on" familiarity with materials and appropriate examination procedures (visible and non-visible assessment) including microscopy, diagnostic imaging, materials description and sampling. The course is introductory and base-level, appropriate to learning how to study and work in teams deploying using "mobile" laboratory equipment, and flexing analysis between field and advanced laboratory locations.

Learning Outcomes

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

On completion of this course students will have:

1. Generic understanding of laboratory practice and microanalysis applications to archaeological materials

2. Generic understanding of distinguishing materials; preliminary identification of process history (e.g. indentifying wind-blown sands; water-rolled bones and shells)

3. Basic microscopy skills and instrumental micro-analysis skills

4. Experience of handling materials and replicate sampling, sub-sampling routine to professional descriptive standards; measurements against standards

5. Skills in screening and separating materials from deposits for more advanced analysis (e.g. extracting charcoals or diatoms or gastropods for imaging on SEM; selecting samples for dating)

6. Skills in selecting samples and assessing context reliability

7. Understanding of laboratory safe practice

Indicative Assessment

Each one week module will required the student to complete pre-set tasks examining materials. Each module will supply the students with handout, materials, tasks and sections of the handout where students must complete interpretive, reflective and analytical statements, based on materials provided that week. Students select 6 from 8 one week modules for assessment
(60% of course assessment - Assessment 1, LOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Understanding of laboratory procedures and interpretive skills is assessed in Week 10 (multiple choice set answer paper 30% - Assessment 2, LOs: 1, 2, 3).
Satisfactory completion of H&S laboratory skills training is assessed in Week 4 (10% - Assessment 3, LO: 7).

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.


On-line pre-reading block (30 hours); Induction training, H&S and orientation inductions (10 hours); 8 weekly modules each comprising (6 hours) lab work and (4 hours) independent study. 10 hours per module equals 80 hours. Total work load for course 120 hours over 1 semester.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the School of Archaeology and Anthropology to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Weiner, S2010 Microarchaeology - beyond the visible record. CUP: Cambridge


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 $1542
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3618
2014 $3762
2013 $3756
2012 $3756
2011 $3756
2010 $3750
2009 $3618
2008 $3618
2007 $3618
2006 $3618
2005 $3618
2004 $3618
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4535 17 Feb 2014 07 Mar 2014 31 Mar 2014 30 May 2014 In Person N/A

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