• Class Number 4197
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Duncan Wright
    • Duncan Wright
  • 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

People have occupied Australia for at least 50,000 years. During that period geographically varied cultural systems changed frequently, adjusting to the altered economic and social circumstances. By using archaeological, historical, climate and biological evidence we can understand aspects of these ancient societies, such as how their economies operated, and how people perceived their society and environment. This course traces the long history of people on this continent. It also introduces you to unique skill sets required to work as an archaeologist in Australia.

Fieldwork Component Information: This course requires travel outside of the ACT. Students will only be permitted to travel upon completion of ANU required travel documentation and the approval of all documentation by the relevant delegate. Applicants are advised that due to circumstances beyond the University's control it may not be possible for students to commence or complete the fieldwork, in which case an alternative lesson plan will be arranged to fulfill the course requirements.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. understand and engage with principal themes, issues and debates in Australian archaeology;
  2. prepare an Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment report;
  3. increase your familiarity with community (including Aboriginal) consultation; and
  4. record sites using an “Aboriginal Site Impact Recording Form”.

Research-Led Teaching

This course challenges us to research aspects of Australian archaeology that interest us the most and then present these to the class through mini tutorials.

Field Trips

There will be one field-excursions (9-10 March). Please be aware that we collect data for assessments during this period. If you can’t make this you will need to re-consider taking this course.

The field trip is free and camping overnight is optional (we will be close to Canberra). Should you wish to join us (Aboriginal Traditional Custodians, staff etc) you will require a tent and need to inform DW and fill out your travel away form by the end of Week 1. 

For insurance purposes please apply for travel away: https://eforms.anu.edu.au/Infiniti_Prod/Produce/WebLogin.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fInfiniti_Prod%2fProduce%2f

There is a help sheet provided on Wattle for you

Required Resources


You will be setting readings for tutorials (see assessment details).

Additional readings are:

  1. Archaeology of Ancient Australia, Peter Hiscock, 2008, Routledge
  2. First Footprints, Scott Cane, 2013, Allen and Unwin Pres

Staff Feedback

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

  • Wattle messages

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture: INTRODUCTION TO AUSTRALIAN ARCHAEOLOGY i) Introduction to the course ii) What is so different about Australian Archaeology? Tutorial: Introduction
2 Lecture: WORKING IN AUSTRALIAN ARCHAEOLOGY (w. Dave Johnston & Oliver MacGregor) i) Consultancy archaeology ii) Working with Aboriginal organisations + introduction to field-experience 9-10 March: Field trip - this is a requirement for ALL students
4 Lecture: THE FIRST AUSTRALIANS i) Escaping extinction ii) First footprints
5 Lecture and stone artefact workshop
6 Lecture: ICE AGE ADAPTATIONS i) Archaeology of Australia's deserts (Prof. Mike Smith, AO) ii) Prehistoric economies
7 Easter Monday - no lecture
8 Lecture: THE WORLD'S GREATEST ESTATE ?i) Landscape management ii) Innovations and new arrivals Assessment 2
9 Lecture: LATE HOLOCENE EXPANSION i) Nation building ii) Rock art through the ages (Tristen Jones)
10 Lecture: ARRIVAL OF WHITE GHOSTS i) Contact ii) Afghan fringe camps in central Australia (Bec Parkes)
11 Lecture: CONCLUSIONS i) Community archaeology in the 21st Century ii) Where to now? (discussion with Australian archaeologists) Assessment 1
12 Lecture: No lecture Tutorial: No tutorial Assessment 3

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Mini tutorial: design and coordinate a mini tutorial on a topic of student interest 15 % 01/06/2019 10/06/2019 1
2500 word Site Assessment Report 35 % 18/04/2019 01/05/2019 2, 3, 4
Essay 50 % 29/05/2019 15/06/2019 1

* 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.


You are expected to participate in tutorials and lectures. Tutorials are critical. Mini tutorial assessments require discussion, which requires the class to attend.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 01/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 10/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1

Mini tutorial: design and coordinate a mini tutorial on a topic of student interest

Post discussion questions (x7, total 200 words) and focused readings (x3) on Wattle prior to the tutorial (5%); and

presentation of 10 minutes and coordinated discussion of 10 minutes (10%)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 18/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 01/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4

2500 word Site Assessment Report

Aboriginal or Historic Site Assessment

Using data collected during the Week 3 field trip and a literature relating to site/ area you will record an important site and tease out it's significance. This will prepare you for future work in cultural heritage and academia by increasing your capacity to analyse and interpreting archaeological artefacts and presenting data as a site report. Components include:


i) A short summary setting out the location and topography of the site, together with the aims of the assessment (this should include a map showing the site location)

ii) Brief overview of the field methodology

iii) Background information (patterns of Aboriginal site location/chronology or brief historical context for the site - could be done as a summary table)

iv) Site description, photographs and site plan(s)

v) Significance assessment - this would incorporate information from Traditional Owners about Aboriginal cultural values as well as an assessment of archaeological values. In the case of the historical site you will need to link this into broader cultural environment

vi) Conclusion that makes recommendations for further investigation and/or site management

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 29/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1


3000 word essay

A good way of cementing core archaeology skills covered in this course is for you to do/ study these for yourself. Worksheets will prepare you for a time when you are working on your own archaeological site or assemblage! You can workshop an essay question with DW or:

1. It was originally argued by Harry Lourandos that the mid-Holocene was a period of intensification with increased social and economic complexity. Based on the available archaeological evidence, describe the social, economic and technological changes that occurred during the mid-Holocene period in Australia and assess the explanations which have been offered to explain those changes. Does the current evidence suggest the phenomenon is really pan-continental? Do the changes actually occur within the same window of time? How satisfying is ‘intensification’ as an explanation for observed changes in the archaeological record?

2.    The past 25 years in particular have seen exponential growth in the ‘cultural heritage’ industry in Australian, which is where many archaeologists find employment after completing their academic training. Discuss the contribution that ‘development related’ or ‘consultancy based’ archaeology has made to our understanding of the Indigenous occupation of Australia. In your answer consider how consultancy based projects similar to or different from academic based research. Ensure your answer is illustrated with reference to at least six (6) case studies to help demonstrate your point of view.

3.    Rock art research is a specialist area that falls within the purview of archaeology, though it has its own distinct techniques, methods, journals and conferences.  Does the study of rock art have any relevance to the study of the archaeology of Indigenous Australia? If so, what contribution has it made? If not, why not? What can we learn, if anything, from rock art that is not knowable from other sources of information such as anthropology, ethnography and oral history?

4.    Stone artefacts are the most abundant type of material culture present in the archaeological record of Australia; they are essentially ubiquitous across the landscape and through time. Discuss the contribution stone artefact studies have made to our understanding of the Indigenous occupation of Australia. Ensure your discussion includes reference to both past and present research, and refer to at least three (3) specific case studies to illustrate your answer.

5.    Understanding how humans have used coastal and island resources has been a longstanding research issue, both in Australia and internationally. Discuss the history of coastal and/or island based research in Australia, drawing out the major themes and hypotheses. Ensure your answer includes some summary of what important research questions are yet to be answered in this area.


You are expected to use at least 15-20 published sources to support your argument, and of those a maximum of four (4) can be internet sites rather than journal articles or books (note that published journal articles accessed through the web do not constitute web pages); students who do not adhere to these referencing guidelines will be penalised. Students


You are advised to familiarize yourself with this and the marking rubric below:


Grade Descriptors



Work that demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of

the main ideas. Lack of clarity in expression and little

evidence for independent thought.



Work that demonstrates a good understanding of the

main ideas. Some critical/independent material may be

present but in an undeveloped state (e.g. faults or failures

of comprehension).



Work that demonstrates good/ very good understanding

of the main ideas, clarity of expression, and has some

interesting/independent and critical response to these

ideas. Critical/reflective response is limited,

underdeveloped or not sustained and/ or clarity of

expression could be improved.

High Distinction


Work that demonstrates very good to excellent

understanding of the main ideas, engagement with the

literature, clarity of expression and a high degree of

independent research. Sometimes work is graded at this

level because it shows the ability to be self-reflective i.e.

there is critical assessment of one’s own ideas, or a

measured, musing level of argument.

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.

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

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.


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).

Duncan Wright

Research Interests

Duncan Wright

Tuesday 15:00 16:00
Tuesday 15:00 16:00
Duncan Wright

Research Interests

Duncan Wright

Tuesday 15:00 16:00
Tuesday 15:00 16:00

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