• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Archaeology
  • Areas of interest Archaeology

This course introduces students to the methods archaeologists use to interpret environments and environmental change. We will discuss the principles of ecological and environmental function, the multifarious processes that influence the preservation and spatial and temporal distribution of environmental evidence in the archaeological record.  We will investigate how various aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and vertebrates provide frameworks for interpreting local and regional ecological change and how people have variously impacted on and modified environments, with a particular focus on those plants and animals that have adapted to the special environmental conditions that emerged with the amalgamation of people in towns and villages.

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. Critically discuss the different approaches, methodologies and research objectives of environmental archaeology from an international perspective;
  2. Examine the methodologies used to model past human interactions with environments, assess the limits of the evidence used, and contextualize the debates surrounding past human impacts on ecosystems and local ecology;
  3. Evaluate the significance of environmental archaeology to theories of past extinctions and culture change; and
  4. Apply different techniques and skills in the laboratory to environmental archaeology research.

Indicative Assessment

Argumentative Essay, 4000 words (50%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3]
Wattle quizzes x 2 (20%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3]
Laboratory/field portfolio, 2000 words (30%) [Learning Outcomes 2, 4]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 18 hours of lecture and 18 hours of tutorials; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ARCH2041

Prescribed Texts

Lowe, J.J. & Walker, M.J.C. 1997 (2nd Ed.). Reconstructing Quaternary environments, Edinburgh: Wesley Longman Ltd.
Evans, J. & O'Connor, T.P. 1999. Environmental archaeology: Principles and methods, Stroud: Sutton Publishing Ltd.
Turney, C., Canti, M., Branch, N. 2005. Environmental archaeology: Theoretical and practical approaches, London: Routledge.
Reitz, E.J., and Shackley, M., 2012. Environmental Archaeology. Springer


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 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
2020 $3570
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6649 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person View

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