• Class Number 4200
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Catherine Frieman
    • Dr Kelly Wiltshire
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

While most archaeological courses concern the Whats, Wheres and Whens of the past, this course addresses the Whys, Whos and Hows. This course will take a thematic approach to the changing ways archaeologists have interpreted past places, things and people since 1950 and to the development of regional archaeologies around the world.

Learning Outcomes

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

By the end of this course students will be expected to:

  1. Recognise the key concepts, themes and narratives used by archaeological theoreticians and discuss them within larger disciplinary, historical and national contexts;
  2. Critique the application of specific theoretical concepts and paradigms  to the archaeological record;
  3. Think, write and argue with these key concepts, themes and theories using supporting evidence from the archaeological record;
  4. Reflect on and discuss the ways various topics within archaeological theory apply to the practice of archaeology and the archaeological record of different regions.

Required Resources

Learning resources and textbooks

There are two core text books which is available online for purchase and through the ANU library. Where ebooks are available, a link will be provided on wattle.

Johnson: Johnson, M. 2010. Archaeological Theory: An introduction. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Trigger: Trigger, B. 2006. A history of archaeological thought. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

A range of journal articles and book chapters will be assigned as required and supplementary reading for each week’s discussion. These readings will be available on wattle well in advance. Students will be expected to read all readings marked ‘required’ and to consult supplementary readings as.

Archaeological theory is a topic which requires extensive reading. There is an expectation that your assignments will engage with the readings, both to establish that you have studied the scholarly literature and also to flesh out your arguments. Assignments with minimal referencing or which neglect obviously relevant material from the readings will be marked down on that basis. Some of the readings will be complex and some may seem to make little sense. Read them anyways and bring your questions to class for discussion.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Rubrics for all assessed work and annotations on written assessments

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Schedule in detail

Week 1: Introduction archaeological theory and to the course

This week we’ll talk about the history of archaeological inquiry, what we mean by archaeological theory and how theory and method are combined in contemporary archaeological practice. We’ll also discuss the course aims, structure and assessments so that everyone is on the same page.

Required reading

Johnson Chp 1

Trigger Chp 1

Week 2: The birth of theoretical archaeology

This week we’ll look at the birth of explicit theory in archaeology. The focus will be on the relationship between archaeology, history and anthropology and the debates of the mid-20th century about the best way to build on those relationships. We’ll ask, following these mid century authors and theoreticians: what is archaeology anyways?

Required reading

Caldwell, J. 1959. The New American Archaeology Science 129(3345):303-307

Clarke, D.L. 1973. Archaeology: the loss of innocence. Antiquity, 47: 6-18.

Hawkes, C. 1954. Archaeological Theory and Method: some suggestions from the Old World. American anthropologist, 56: 155-168.

Supplementary reading

Binford, L. 1983. In pursuit of the Past. Decoding the archaeological record. London: Thames & Hudson. Chps 1 & 5

Clark, JDG 1954. The Economic Approach to Prehistory. Proceedings of the British Academy, 39: 215-38.

Johnson Chps 2-5

Trigger Chp 7

Raab, M. & Goodyear, A. 1984. Middle Range Theory in Archaeology: A Critical Review of Origins and Applications. American Antiquity 49:255-268.

Watson, R.A. 1972. The 'new archaeology' of the 1960s. Antiquity. 66: 210-215.

Week 3: The human environment

This week we begin our study of archaeological landscapes by looking at economic and environmental theories of human-landscape interaction. Many of these ideas developed out of the debates which swirled around the ‘new’ processual archaeology movement in the United States. We’ll discuss how humans interact with their environments and what tools an environmental perspective gives us to understand human society better.

Required reading

Binford, L. 1980. Willow smoke and dogs’ tails: Hunter-gatherer settlement systems and archaeological site formation. American Antiquity 45(1): 4-20.

Butzer, K. 1996. Ecology in the Long View: Settlement Histories, Agrosystemic Strategies, and Ecological Performance. Journal of Field Archaeology 23: 141-150

Crumley, C. 1994. Historical ecology: A multidimensional and ecological orientation. In Crumley, C. (ed) Historical Ecology: Cultural Knowledge and changing landscapes. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. Pp. 1-16.

Supplementary reading

Binford, L. 1983. In pursuit of the Past. Decoding the archaeological record. London: Thames & Hudson. Chps 6 & 7

Butzer, K. 1982. Archaeology as human ecology: Method and theory for a contextual approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chps 2 and 13

Hirsch, C. 1995. Landscape: Between space and place. In E. Hirsch & M. O’Hanlon (eds) The anthropology of landscape: perspectives on space and place. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 1-30

Yesner, D. 2008. Ecology in archaeology. In A. Bentley, H. Maschner & C. Chippendale (eds) Handbook of archaeological theories. Plymouth: Altamira. Pp. 39-56

Week 4: Landscape and society

This week we’ll move beyond environmental models to look at the human landscape as a unique product of social engagement with place and space. We’ll think about how meaning and memory are inscribed on landscapes and explore different ways of understanding the landscapes in which people life and which they alter through their occupation.

Required reading

Schlanger, S. 1992. Recognizing persistent places in Anasazi settlement systems. In J Rossignol & L Wandsnider (eds) Space, time and archaeological landscapes. New York: Plenum. Pp. 91-112

Taçon, P. 1999. Identifying ancient sacred landscapes in Australia: From physical to social. In W. Ashmore and AB Knapp (eds) Archaeologies of landscape. Contemporary perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp. 33-57

Supplementary readings

Gosden, C. & Head, L. 1994. Landscape, a usefully ambiguous concept. Archaeology in Oceania 29(3): 113-116.

Ingold, T. 1993. The temporality of the landscape. World Archaeology 25(2): 152-174.

Layton, R. & Ucko, P. 1999. Introduction: gazing on the landscape and encountering the environment. In P. Ucko & R. Layton (eds) The Archaeology and anthropology of landscape. Shaping your landscape. London: Routledge. Pp. 1-20

Johnson Chps 6-7

Knapp, AB & Ashmore, W. 1999. Archaeological landscapes: Constructed, conceptualised, ideational. In W. Ashmore and AB Knapp (eds) Archaeologies of landscape. Contemporary perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp. 1-32

Week 5: Phenomenology: Natural vs. manmade places

This week we’ll dig into landscape phenomenology and embodied interpretations of human landscapes. We start with a review of phenomenology as a philosophical approach and then connect this to theories of human engagement with place and the unique perspective a body-centred approach can give us in our interpretations.

Required reading

Bradley, R. 2000. An archaeology of natural places. London: Routledge. Chp 3

Tilley, C. 1996. The powers of rocks: Topography and monument construction on Bodmin Moor. World Archaeology 28(2): 161-176

Supplementary reading

Basso, K. 1996. Wisdom sits in places: Notes on a Western Apache landscape. In S. Feld & K. Basso (eds) Senses of Place. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. Pp. 53-90

Cummings, V. & Whittle, A. 2003. Tombs with a view: Landscape, monuments and trees. Antiquity 77: 255-266.

Tilly, C. 1994. A phenomenology of landscape: Places, paths and monuments. Oxford: Berg.

Bender, B., Hamilton, S. & Tilley, C. 1997. Leskernick: Stone Worlds; Alternative Narratives; Nested Landscapes. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 63: 147-178


Week 7: Reading meaning and symbolism

This week we’re going to dig further into the post-processual critique with a focus on symbolic and structural archaeology. In the early 1980s a group of largely British archaeologists began to adopt theoretical tools from critical studies, political philosophy and literary studies to expand the types and nature of interpretation they could apply to the archaeological record. In many ways in these approaches, which began through the re-evaluation of material culture, we see the birth of social archaeology.

Required reading

Hodder, I. 1990. The Domestication of Europe. Oxford: Blackwell. Chapters 2 & 3

Parker Pearson, M. 1982. Mortuary practices, society and ideology: an ethnoarchaeological study. In I. Hodder (ed) Symbolic and Structural archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp 99-114.

Supplementary reading

Hodder, I. 1982. Symbols in action: Ethnoarchaeological studies of material culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chps 1 & 9

Hodder, I. and Hutson, S. 2003. Reading the past: current approaches to interpretation in archaeology. 3rd ed, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chp 3

Kohl, P. 1985 Symbolic, Cognitive Archaeology: A new Loss of Innocence. Dialectical Anthropology 9:105-117.

Layton, R. 2008. Structuralism and semiotics. In C. Tilley, W. Keane, S. Kuechler, M. Rowlands & P. Spyer (eds) The Handbook of Material Culture. London: Sage. Pp 29-42

Miller, D. 1982. Artefacts as products of human categorisation. In I. Hodder (ed) Symbolic and Structural archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp 17-25

Week 8: Object biographies

One of the real innovations of the 1980s and 1990s was shifting our understanding of material culture at static things to items that represented different phases in long and dynamic processes. This week we’ll use the French school of technology studies and the biographical model to think about the lives of objects and how they reflect and affect human actions.

Required reading

Joy, J. 2009. Reinvigorating object biography: reproducing the drama of object lives. World Archaeology 41 (4): 540-56.

Rainbird, P. 1999. Entangled biographies: Western Pacific ceramics and the tombs of Pohnpei. World Archaeology 31 (2): 214-24.

Supplementary readings

Gosden, C. & Marshall, Y. 1999. The cultural biography of objects. World Archaeology, 31 (2): 169-78.

Hoskins, J. 2008. Agency, Biography and objects. In C. Tilley, W. Keane, S. Kuechler, M. Rowlands & P. Spyer (eds) The Handbook of Material Culture. London: Sage. Pp 74-84

Kopytoff, I. 1986. The cultural biography of things: commoditization as process. In A. Appadurai (ed) The Social life of things: commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 64-94.

Saunders, N. J. 1999. Biographies of brilliance: pearls, transformations of matter and being, c. AD 1492. World Archaeology 31(2): 243-57.

York, J. 2002. The life cycle of Bronze Age metalwork from the Thames. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 21(1): 77–92.

Week 9: Agency and materiality

This week we’ll discuss of the most controversial and most dynamic bodies of theory to develop in the past couple of decades. Agency theory is a diverse and complex body of theory, but is often adopted in part by archaeologists who are interested in the ways things can mediate or affect the relationships between people and between people and material culture. These ideas developed alongside a widespread ‘material turn’ in the social sciences in which the materiality of things has taken on new interpretative weight.

Required reading

Gosden, C. 2005. What do objects want? Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 12(3): 193-211.

Ingold, T. 2007. Materials Against Materiality. Archaeological Dialogues 14(1):1-16.

Robb, J. 2010: Beyond agency. World Archaeology 42(4):493-520.

Supplementary reading

Dobres, M.-A. & Hoffman, C. 1994. Social agency and the dynamics of prehistoric technology. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 1 (3): 211-58.

Dobres, M.-A. & Robb, J. 2000. Agency in archaeology: a paradigm or a platitude? In M-A Dobres & J. Robb (eds) Agency in archaeology. London: Routledge. Pp 3-18.

Fowler, C. 2010. From identity and material culture to personhood and materiality. In D. Hicks & M. Beaudry (eds) The Oxford handbook of material culture studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp 352-385

Gardner, A. 2008. Agency. In A. Bentley, H. Maschner & C. Chippendale (eds) Handbook of archaeological theories. Plymouth: Altamira. Pp. 95-108

Taylor, T. 2008. Materiality. In A. Bentley, H. Maschner & C. Chippendale (eds) Handbook of archaeological theories. Plymouth: Altamira. Pp. 297-320.

Hodder, I. and Hutson, S. 2003. Reading the past: current approaches to interpretation in archaeology. 3rd ed, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chp 5

Week 10: Marxist archaeologies and political economy

We begin our final module on power and relationships by digging into some of the the key economic models for human social and political engagement. We will focus specifically on Marxist and political economy models and their application to the archaeological record. The questions to start asking are who has power? How do they keep power? And how is power accumumated?

Required reading

DeMarrais, E., L.J. Castillo, and T. Earle. 1996. Ideology, Materialization, and Power Strategies. Current Anthropology 37:15-31

Paynter, R. & McGuire, R. 1991. The archaeology of inequality - material culture, domination and resistance. In R. McGuire & R. Paynter (eds) The archaeology of inequality. London: Blackwell. Pp 1-27

Supplementary reading

Earle, T.K. 1997. How chiefs come to power: the political economy in prehistory. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Chp 6

Hodder, I. and Hutson, S. 2003. Reading the past: current approaches to interpretation in archaeology. 3rd ed, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chp 4

Leone, M., Potter, P. & Shackel, P. 1987. Toward a Critical Archaeology. Current Anthropology 28:283-302

McGuire, R. 2008. Marxism. In A. Bentley, H. Maschner & C. Chippendale (eds) Handbook of archaeological theories. Plymouth: Altamira. Pp. 73-94

Renfrew, C. 1996. Peer Polity interaction and socio-political change. In R. Preucel & I. Hodder (eds) Contemporary archaeology in theory a reader. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp 114-143

Rowlands, M. 1987 Power and moral order in precolonial West-Central Africa. In E. Brumfiel & T. Earle (eds) Specialization, Exchange, and Complex Societies. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Pp. 52-63

Week 11: Gender and power

This week we will think about power relationships on a more personal level using the framework of gender. Since the 1980s, feminist approaches to the archaeological record have made clear that archaeologists need to grapple the power dynamics within the household and between individuals on the basis of gender if we want to understand past societies. Moreover, gendered approaches to archaeology emphasise our own socialised gendered perceptions as the ways we understand and read gender in the present affect how we do our archaeology.

Required reading

Balme, J. and Bulbeck, C. 2008 Engendering Origins: Theories of Gender in Sociology and Archaeology. Australian Archaeology 67(Dec 2008): 3-11.

Engelstad, E. 2007. Much More than Gender. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 14(3):217-234

Joyce, R. A. 2000. Girling the Girl and Boying the Boy: The Production of Adulthood in Ancient Mesoamerica. World Archaeology 31 (3): 473-83.

Supplementary reading

Beck, W. & Balme, J. 1994 Gender in Aboriginal Archaeology: Recent Research. Australian Archaeology 39(Dec 1994): 39-46

Brumfiel, E. 1992. Breaking and Entering the Ecosystem—Gender, Class, and Faction Steal the Show. American Anthropologist 94(3):551-567.

Conkey, M.W. & Spector, J.D. 1984. Archeology and the study of gender. In M.B. Schiffer (ed) Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 7:1-38.

Conkey, M.W. & Gero, J.M. 1997. Programme to practice: Gender and feminism in archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 26: 411-37.

Smith, C. & Burke, H. 2006. Glass Ceilings, Glass Parasols and Australian Academic Archaeology. Australian Archaeology 62(June 2006): 13-25

Johnson Chp 8

Week 12: Colonialism and Indigenous archaeologies

In our final week we’ll look at archaeology through a post-colonial lens. We’ll explore the ways archaeology and archaeologists have been complicit in building colonialist, nationalist and white supremacist visions of the past and then turn to the rich world of post-colonial theory to think about how colonised and Indigenous people are challenging these readings.

Required reading

Harrison, R. 2002. Archaeology and the colonial encounter: Kimberley spearpoints, cultural identity and masculinity in the north of Australia. Journal of Social Archaeology 2(3): 352-77.

McNiven, I. & Russell, L. 2008. Towards a postcolonial archaeology of Indigenous Australia. In A. Bentley, H. Maschner & C. Chippendale (eds) Handbook of archaeological theories. Plymouth: Altamira. Pp. 423-446

Supplementary reading and supplementary material

Anawak, J. 1996. Inuit perceptions of the Past. In R. Preucel & I. Hodder (eds) Contemporary archaeology in theory a reader. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp 646-651

Colwell-Chanthaphonh, C. 2012. Archaeology and indigenous collaboration. In I. Hodder (ed) Archaeological theory today. Cambridge: Polity Press. Pp. 267-291

Gosden, C. 2012. Post-colonial archaeology. In I. Hodder (ed) Archaeological theory today. Cambridge: Polity Press. Pp. 251-266

Johnson Chp 12

Lightfoot, K. 2005 The Archaeology of Colonization: California in Cross-Cultural Perspective. In G. Stein (ed) The Archaeology of Colonial Encounters: Comparative Perspectives. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. Pp. 207-235

Smith, C. & Jackson G. 2006. Decolonizing Indigenous Archaeology: Developments from Down Under. American Indian Quarterly 30(3&4): 311-349

Trigger, B. G. 1984. Alternative Archaeologies: Nationalist, Colonialist, Imperialist. Man 19(3): 355-70.


Referencing is a vital part of all academic writing. You must reference in the text of your essay ALL information and ideas derived from your reading, not just those parts which are direct quotations. This is an important part of academic professional practice.

In Archaeology, the Harvard system of referencing is followed, not the footnoting system used by some other disciplines. For example:

For many research problems, a small sample will suffice (Seymour 1980).

Alternatively, the author’s surname may be integrated into the text, followed immediately by the year of publication, in brackets. For example:

Seymour (1980) has argued that for many research problems, a small sample will suffice.

When you use a direct quotation, or refer to a specific idea, you need to include the page number(s) in the text reference after a colon. For example:

For many research problems, a small sample will suffice (Seymour 1980:22).

If more than one work is cited, they should be referenced as follows:

Schiffer (1987) and Redman (1974) have considered....

Previous authors (Schiffer 1987; Redman 1974) have considered....

In the case of work that has more than three authors, only the surname of the first listed author is used, followed by the expression “et al.” (meaning “and others”). For example, a work by Schiffer, Rathje, Redman and Martin becomes:

Schiffer et al. (2000) have found....

It has been found (Shiffer et al. 2000) that....

If you want to quote a long passage from another publication, it should be indented with no quotation marks:

As is widely known,

It is inevitable that much of the archaeological variability reported within and between regions is a consequence, not of past human behaviour, but of differences in the environmental processes that today influence the archaeologist's ability to find and interpret artefacts and sites (Schiffer 1987:262).

You then list all the books and articles to which you have referred in the text of your essay under the heading “References”/”Reference List”/”Bibliography” at the end of your essay. These references must be arranged in alphabetical order by first author surname/family name.

The following examples illustrate one format for dealing with various types of source material in your References. If you look at references in any journal article or book you will see that many specific formats can be used - the essence is to be consistent.

For a book:

Darvill, T. 2010. Prehistoric Britain. 2nd ed, London: Routledge.

For a book by more than one author:

Benson, D. and Whittle, A. 2007. Building memories: the Neolithic Cotswold long barrow at Ascott-Under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire. Oxford: Oxbow.

For an edited volume:

Haselgrove, C. and Moore, T. (eds). 2007. The later Iron Age in Britain and beyond. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

For an article in an edited volume:

Haselgrove, C. 1999. The Iron Age. In Hunter, J. R. and Ralston, I. B. M. (eds.), The Archaeology of Britain. an introduction from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Industrial Revolution. Routledge, London. 113-134.

For an article in a journal:

Schulting, R.J. & M.P. Richards 2002. The wet, the wild and the domesticated: the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition on the west coast of Scotland. European Journal of Archaeology 5(2): 147-189.

Note that the journal title, NOT the article title is italicised, and the volume number and issue or part of the volume are indicated before the page number.

For a website:

Parker Pearson, M. 2010. Stonehenge riverside project homepage. University of Sheffield, [last accessed 2 Feb. 2012]. Available from http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/archaeology/research/stonehenge.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction - a brief history of archaeological thought and practice Assessment 1-4
2 A loss of innocence: the birth of theoretical archaeology Assessment 1-4
3 ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES The Human Environment Assessment 1-4
4 Landscape and Society Assessment 1-4
5 Phenomenology – natural vs. manmade places Assessment 1-4
6 Writing week – work on your review essays Assessment 1-4
7 MATERIAL CULTURE Reading meaning and symbolism Assessment 1-4
8 Object biographies Assessment 1-4
9 Agency and Materiality Assessment 1-4
10 PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIPS ?Marxist archaeologies and political economy Assessment 1-4
11 Gender and power Assessment 1-4
12 Colonialism and Indigenous archaeologies Assessment 1-4

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Guided Tutorial Discussion 10 % 09/06/2019 30/06/2019 2, 3, 4
Tutorial Portfolio 20 % 02/06/2019 30/06/2019 3, 4
Review Essay 30 % 21/04/2019 30/06/2019 1, 2, 3, 4
Argumentative Research Essay 40 % 09/06/2019 30/06/2019 1, 2, 3, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Lectures will be largely informal and students should attempt to attend all lectures and discussions. Failure to do so will have a tangible impact on your success in this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 09/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4

Guided Tutorial Discussion

A variety of required and supplementary readings will be prepared for each week’s topic. You will be required to ‘guide’ the discussion of this material once during the semester. To do so, you will read not only the required readings, but also the majority of the supplementary readings to gain a fully rounded appreciation of the topic at hand. You will prepare notes on this material to briefly (2-3 min) introduce the required readings (key points, author’s background, how the readings fit with the larger topic). Using this context, you will also develop a variety of general and more specific discussion questions to encourage your classmates to engage with the reading and discuss it.

Depending on the week, one or two students will be expected to help guiding each week’s discussion, but whether you work together or independently is your choice. All students will be marked independently.

Marks will be based on level of preparedness, quality of introduction of readings and quality of discussion questions

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 02/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4

Tutorial Portfolio

Value: 20%

Due: Part 1 (weeks 1-5) and Part 2 (weeks 7-12) due separately

Each week you should prepare a short critical reflection on the lecture, discussion and readings. The notes you make on readings will contribute to your ability to engage in class discussions and you can then add to those notes with further insights drawn from conversation with your classmates and from the lecture. Use these notes to produce two 500 word tutorial portfolios (i.e. 1000 words in total).

Archaeological theory is particularly mind-bending and producing these critical summaries should give you a chance to reflect actively on the material you are reading and on the various ways it can be interpreted and applied. You are expected to reference all required readings, the lecture and at least some aspects of class discussion in each week’s portfolio entry. The critical summaries will be submitted in two parts, giving you the time to edit and polish them to high academic standards.

When you go to summarise and critique the set readings, consider the following questions (but don’t simply answer them: write down the most interesting insights that arise from your consideration of these things):

  • What does the paper say about previous work on the subject?
  • What did this paper set out to do that was different from previous work? Why did the researchers want to do it?
  • How did the researchers approach achieving their aim?
  • What did they find out? What did they conclude?
  • What is the central argument of the paper?
  • What aspects of the paper do you agree or disagree with?
  • What are the strengths of the paper, in terms of methods, assumptions, theories, etc?
  • What are the weaknesses of the paper? What would you like to have seen that wasn’t there? How would you have approached it differently?
  • What is the major contribution of this paper to archaeological theory?

While listening to lectures or participating in class discussions, consider these questions:

  • What was the main theme of the lecture?
  • How did the readings reflect the theme? What were the main ideas brought up in the discussion?
  • If you guided this week’s discussion, how do the required and supplementary readings connect?
  • If you did not guide this week’s discussion, what did you think of the discussion questions? How did they engage with the readings? In your opinion, were they successful in drawing out the discussion? Why?
  • What was new for you about today’s class in terms of knowledge or skills?
  • What did you know already that was reinforced for you?
  • What could have been done better? Why?
  • What insights did you gain from the class discussion and lectures
  • How could you use the class material in other contexts?

You do not have to answer all of these questions in your critical summary – and you probably would not be able to fit all the answers if you tried! These questions are provided merely to help guide your reading and reflecting and enable you to move beyond descriptive summaries. In marking the portfolios I will also take into account the level and quality of your contributions to class discussions. The final portfolio mark may be tweaked up or down if your participation in

class and group discussions was very good or very poor, and if that level of participation did not match the quality of the journal itself.

The portfolios will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Inclusion of all required readings, points from discussion and from lectures
  • Accuracy describing issues and facts
  • Depth of understanding
  • Originality
  • Relevance of references and examples to your argument
  • Use of explicit examples to support your argument
  • Structure and presentation
  • Participation in class discussions

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 21/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Review Essay

Value: 30%

You will review a major work of archaeological theory and produce a 1500 word academic review of this work. You should choose a monograph, not an edited volume. Usually these are single-authored, but some multiply-authored monographs are also acceptable. A list of possible books will be provided, but you may also choose to read and review a book not included on this list. If you choose a book not on the list, you should confirm your choice with the convenor at least three weeks before the due date.

Your review should follow the standard book review format common to international archaeological journals. It should include:

  • An overview of the book and its context
  • A summary of key chapters or arguments
  • Critiques of content or presentation as appropriate
  • A summary of the results and its significance to the wider archaeological dialogue
  • A final statement on its value and contribution to that debate

Your review should be written to the highest academic standards and include full referencing and bibliographies where appropriate. Appropriate referencing formats are included in this course handbook.

Referencing in book reviews is somewhat variable so the following guidelines should be followed:

  • You do not need to include the book being reviewed in a bibliography. Instead, you should use a full bibliographic reference as the title of your review.
  • When paraphrasing ideas in the book you are reviewing a simple note does not need a page reference: ‘In chapter 4, Smith attempts to prove XYZ’.
  • When quoting text from the book your are reviewing include the page number but not author and year: ‘Smith goes on to state her goal of “XYZ” (4)’
  • When citing other materials relevant to the book you are reviewing you should reference it fully with author and year. These materials should be listed in a bibliography at the end of your review. Bibliographies do not count towards the word count: ‘and yet, while Smith makes a valid point, her work neglects to address the wider research into identity and ethnicity (e.g. Insoll 2006; Jones 2002).’

The essays will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Accuracy in describing issues and facts
  • Range/comprehensiveness of material covered
  • Depth of understanding
  • Originality
  • Relevance of references and examples to your argument
  • Use of explicit examples to support your argument
  • Critical approach to academic sources
  • Use of bibliography
  • Use of illustrations (optional)
  • Structure and presentation

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 09/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Argumentative Research Essay

Value: 40%

You are required to carry out independent research on a topic of your choice which is relevant to the themes of the course. You will produce a 2,500 word essay which make use of one or more of the theoretical frameworks for interpretation which we are discussing this semester.

Your essay should do more than just describe this theoretical framework: it should expand on the body of theory you have chosen to argue how this body of theory can increase our understanding of a particular site, period, culture, landscape or set of objects. I encourage you to choose a single, clear case study to apply your ideas. This case study may concern materials, landscapes and/or societies from any period or location in the world or more modern questions of archaeological practice. Your research may build on the material reviewed in your review essay but does not have to.

Your essay must be written to the highest academic standards and fully and completely referenced (reference lists will not count towards the word count). Appropriate referencing formats are included in this course handbook.

The essays will be assessed on the following criteria:

Accuracy in describing issues and facts

Range/comprehensiveness of material covered

Depth of understanding


Relevance of references and examples to your argument

Use of explicit examples to support your argument

Critical approach to sources

Use of bibliography

Use of illustrations (optional)

Structure and presentation


Start reading early, well before the assignment is due.

Always keep notes on the source of the material you are reading

Wherever possible, use diagrams, maps, graphs to illustrate your argument.

Keep to the set word limit - it is part of the exercise.

Get someone else to read a draft of your essay.


A picture may save many words (see above on essay length). Many essays benefit from illustrations. Consider carefully whether illustrations will contribute to the overall presentation and content of your essay. If you can easily scan a diagram or other illustration into your essay, definitely consider it. Alternatively, photocopy the illustration, cut it out and glue it in. Hand-drawn illustrations are fine, but they can take a lot of time if they are to look reasonably neat.

However you present your illustrations, make sure you indicate the source. In the caption describing the illustration, refer to the work you got it from, or indicate if it is entirely your own work (important: see below on referencing).

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Your written work should be submitted digitally on TurnItIn by midnight on the day it is due. Lateness will be calculated based on date/time of submission on TurnItIn.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Catherine Frieman

Research Interests

Dr. Catherine Frieman is Senior Lecturer in European Archaeology in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology. She specialises in the Neolithic and Bronze Age societies and material culture of northwest Europe and Scandinavia and is particularly interested in adoption of metal in prehistory.

Dr Catherine Frieman

Monday 08:00 09:00
Dr Kelly Wiltshire

Research Interests

Dr Kelly Wiltshire

Tuesday 11:00 12:00

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