• Code ASIA2220
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Asian Languages, Pacific Studies, Asian Studies, Asia Pacific Studies, Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Stuart Bedford
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2018
    See Future Offerings

Winter 2018 - Peeling back the layers in Melanesia: Archaeology and History in Vanuatu

This course provides an opportunity for students to participate in new learning abroad opportunities offered by the School of Culture, History and Language. Opportunities may include faculty-led study tours as well as programs delivered by partner institutions. This shell course is intended for newly developed in-country classes whose offering is dependent on external circumstances, such as first-time New Colombo Plan funding or government/partner institution approval, and in-country classes intended as a one-time only offering.

Information on each topic offered within this course will be outlined in the 'Other Information' section, including the topics offered, and information on the unit value, convener, academic session and indicative workload. The topics offered through this shell course will typically be made available through a competitive selection process.

Learning Outcomes

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

Varies depending on the specific topic offered and will be described in the Other Information section for each new class when it is added.

Other Information

Students are required to participate in a competitive selection process in order to gain access to this course. For information on the application process, please visit: https://anu-au-sa.terradotta.com/


Peeling back the layers in Melanesia: Archaeology and History in Vanuatu

This field school is part of a multi-disciplinary, multi-year, ARC-funded research project titled “3000 Years of Settlement and Interaction in Southern Vanuatu. It will be located on Aniwa Island, a small low coral island located off the east coast of Tanna Island in southern Vanuatu. First settled by Lapita communities 3000 years ago it has been radically transformed over the last 1000 years and particularly in the 19th century with missionary activity and population decline. It is a “Polynesian Outlier”, an island where a Polynesian language is spoken but lying geographically outside the “Polynesian triangle.”

Students will learn archaeological field methods and basic artefact recording and analysis through hands-on excavation and processing of artefacts.  Living in huts on a small tropical island rarely visited by tourists or even other Ni-Vanuatu, students will get to know local people and work with them and each other to reveal lost information from their past. Previous archaeological work in nearby areas ensure that students will find and process artefacts from the recent and not-so-recent past, enriching their understanding of Melanesia culture while contributing to a major investigation of Vanuatu’s past.


Convenor: Dr Stuart Bedford

This course will be convened by Dr Stuart Bedford (ANU) who has been carrying out archaeological research in Vanuatu since 1995 and will include instruction from other researchers on the field school including Dr James Flexner (University of Sydney [specialising in archaeology of the historic period in the Pacific]), Dr Frédérique Valentin (CNRS, Paris [biological anthropologist specialising in burial ritual]) and Martin Jones (Heritage New Zealand [buildings archaeologist]). In Vanuatu our collaborators include Chief Samaria David and Denise Elena (Vanuatu Cultural Centre fieldworkers, Aniwa), Richard Shing and Edson Willie (Vanuatu Cultural Centre Director and archaeologist) and local communities on Aniwa.


Structure and Content: This is a winter course which will start on the 25th of June (one day briefing and class discussion) and end on the 27th of July (last day to hand in research essay). The last date to enrol will be 18th of June; maximum of 15 students; this undergraduate course will be held jointly with ARCH8002 (Advanced Field Training in Archaeological Science). Students need to arrive in Vanuatu before the 2nd of July.


Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the course, students will have the skills and knowledge to:

1. Demonstrate competence in archaeological field methods, excavation, recording, sampling and mapping

2. Undertake historical research and compare and connect it with archaeological research

3. Collaborate in research with local communities

4. Demonstrate an understanding of cultural heritage challenges in a Pacific Island nation

5. Demonstrate an understanding of environmental challenges for small island states



1. Pre-fieldwork seminar participation: 10% (Learning outcomes 2, 3, 4, 6)

2. Fieldwork portfolio: 35% (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

3. Historical analysis and comparison: 15% (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

4. Occupational Health and Safety assessments in the field 5% (LO 1)

5. Research Paper: 35% (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


Workload: There will be a full-day pre-fieldwork teaching component and then the workload will be primarily the field school itself that will comprise 18 days outside Australia, 15 days of which will be on Aniwa Island. On site hours are 8am to 4pm (7 hrs a day with an hour for lunch) 6 days a week. A post-fieldwork research essay of 2000 words completes the program. Students will also tour the Vanuatu Museum and have a full day tour of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Roi Mata Domain, on Efate Island before going to Aniwa.


Assumed knowledge/Prerequisites: Students interested and have some knowledge in archaeology, history, environmental history, population dynamics and adaptation to natural hazards. Prerequisite is having completed 24 units. The course will be open to non-ANU university students wishing to participate in this unique opportunity.

In 2018 this will be the only field school of its kind being offered anywhere in Australia that will be taking place in the Pacific. It is a great opportunity for students to experience life in a Pacific Island nation and be involved in an on-going research program that encompasses a wide range of disciplines.



All enrolled students will receive the EngageAsia Travel Guarantee of $500 to contribute to course costs. 

Indicative Assessment

This will vary depending on the specific topic offered. The assessment will be described in the Other Information section for each new class with it is added. 

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.


The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours in total, including both in class time and independent study. The schedule for this course varies depending on the specific topic offered and will be described in the Other Information section for each new class when it is added.

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

Course materials will be available on the Wattle page. 


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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 to 12 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
7.00 0.14583
8.00 0.16667
9.00 0.18750
10.00 0.20833
11.00 0.22917
12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $470 per unit
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $720 per unit
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
Archaeology and History in Vanuatu
6917 25 Jun 2018 18 Jun 2018 06 Jul 2018 27 Jul 2018 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions