• Class Number 4479
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Duncan Wright
    • Duncan Wright
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
SELT Survey Results

Australia has a unique and important human history. During a 50,000 year period geographically varied cultural systems formed across the continent, adjusting in response to social and environmental circumstances. First Australian's faced an Ice Age that lasted ten millennia and flooding events in which present-day Australia and Papua New Guinea separated from a vast super continent. Our Nations history is also unique because it draws upon the practice of archaeology and history, also the expertise of First Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Each method of ‘history building’ produces, narrates and disseminates knowledge that intersects and diverges in ways that are both nuanced and complex. In this course you will learn about the long and continuing history of people on this continent while also being introduced to unique skill sets required should you wish to seek archaeology employment in Australia. In addition we will engage with different ways of understanding Australia’s story, resurrecting 'histories' from the various disciplines and knowledge systems.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand and engage with principal themes, issues and debates in Australian archaeology;
  2. demonstrate skills required to work as an archaeologist in Australia (e.g. consultation with Traditional Custodians, site recording, preparation of grant applications and academic/ consultancy site reports);
  3. familiarise yourself with the archaeologists role within a wider corpus of history building disciplines and systems

Required Resources

Most weeks students within your tutorial will set readings and discussion points. You are expected to read all set readings so we can discuss themes/ questions during tutorials. In addition, you should read Archaeology of Ancient Australia, Peter Hiscock, 2008, Routledge. This will assist you complete written assignments, as well as allowing you to develop a broad understanding of Australian archaeology.

First Footprints, Scott Cane, 2013, Allen and Unwin Press

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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

Please note that timelines etc. may alter slightly during the semester. Check Wattle (and the class forum) regularly so you are up to date with any changes.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction Online
2 Workshopping Australian Archaeology 1 Online
3 Workshopping Australian Archaeology 2 On campus
4 Workshopping Australian Archaeology 3 On campus
5 Origins – who were the First Australians? i) Online ii) see “Talk Show” on Wattle
6 Hunter’s or Farmer’s? i) Online ii) see “Talk Show” on Wattle
7 Continuity or change? Isolation or contact? i) Online ii) see “Talk Show” on Wattle
8 Australian Nation or Nations? Solidarity or conflict? i) Online ii) see “Talk Show” on Wattle
9 Social and spiritual realms i) Online ii) see “Talk Show” on Wattle
10 The Past in the present i) Online ii) see “Talk Show” on Wattle
11 A taste of Australian Archaeology Online
12 Conclusions – Discussion forum Online

Tutorial Registration

See Wattle for details

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Design and coordinate a mini tutorial on a topic of student interest 15 % 21/05/2021 10/06/2021 1,3
Aboriginal Site Assessment Report (2500 words) 35 % 25/04/2021 15/05/2021 2
3000 Word Essay 50 % 23/05/2021 10/06/2021 1,3

* 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


Each week you will need to attend lectures (aligned with Assessment 2, 3) and during weeks 5-10, watch themed "talk shows". The latter provide alternative perspectives on the past, including discussions with First Nation representatives. These are critical for completing the final assessment and also, though I say it myself, provide some pretty exciting narratives and arguments!

You will also need to attend tutorials which will, in part, be run by you (as 'mini tutorials' - Assessment 1).

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 21/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,3

Design and coordinate a mini tutorial on a topic of student interest

Guided mini tutorial part 1: post discussion questions (x7, total 200 words) and focused readings (x3) on Wattle at least 4 days prior to the tutorial; (5)

Guided mini tutorial part 2: presentation of 10 minutes and coordinated discussion of 10 minutes (10)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 25/04/2021
Return of Assessment: 15/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 2

Aboriginal Site Assessment Report (2500 words)

The owners of the Millpost stone axe quarry (Lot 300 [Plan=DP754893], Bungendore) wish to use this site to attract tourists - https://www.quarrymagazine.com/2020/03/19/prized-ancient-quarry-recognised/. This will involve grading a dirt road to the site from a nearby dirt track in order to transport tourists (see map on Wattle). 

The managing director of your consultancy company asks you to provide property owners with a “Due Diligence”, allowing them to make an informed decision about whether they may proceed with care OR need to submit a formal Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP). This is necessary so the land-owner complies with the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.


To do so you will need to follow the activity sequence provided by the flow chart on pp. 10 -


Based on the landowners plan it is clear that damage is inevitable and you are required to provide a due diligence report. To do so:

a)     Search the AHIMS sites database (and other national/ state/ regional heritage listing bodies) to determine whether there are any known Aboriginal sites within the subject land (see map on Wattle).

b)     Using online sources (below) and your own research, examine study area environment. What are the likely site types based on your understanding of the regions archaeology? Might there be any remnant vegetation / scarred trees? Are there permanent water bodies or drainage lines that may have been a focus of human use? Are there landforms that may contain buried cultural deposits? Might there be raw material useful for artefacts based on geological mapping and on analysis of aerial photos? Are there rock overhangs that might have been suitable for residential occupation and which may contain art? Are there likely to be outcrops of sandstone or other abrasive parent materials on or near the creek lines that may have been suitable for axe grinding grooves?

c)     If possible, examine site disturbance. Look at historic and current aerial photos to gauge natural/ human induced site damage (e.g. building work or erosion). Are there areas that may preserve intact cultural deposits?

d)     Provide a recommendation to the clients about significance of the area including a predictive sensitivity map (or table). This should outline areas ranging from low to high risk across the study area. Also advise them whether there may be alternative actions they may take to avoid invasive damage (so they don’t need to submit an AHIP application).

e)     Reference list – at least 7 references


Online resources to help you complete section b and c are:


Geological and soil landscape mapping/ Watercourses and waterbodies/ eSpade https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/eSpade2WebApp

Historic aerial photographs/ Cadastral maps/ SixMaps - https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/

Parish maps / historic maps and plans/ Historic Land Reg Viewer: https://hlrv.nswlrs.com.au/


Topographic maps / topography/ SixMaps/ Topomaps.com - https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/etopo.html



Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 23/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,3

3000 Word Essay

Choose one of the following essays

1) Archaeology is only one of a variety of methods used in 'history building' (e.g. linguistics, ethno-history and genetics). Describe why this is the case and explore the benefits and limitations of archaeology in this space?

2) Archaeology provides insight into 'hidden histories' that may not survive in other, historic datasets. How true is this statement?

3) Archaeology suggests people have been on this continent for at least 50,000 years. What else has archaeology shown us about these early arrivals and what more can we learn about this topic from other history-building disciplines and perspectives?

4) Harry Lourandos suggested a mid-Holocene period of "intensification". Based on the available archaeological evidence, describe what he meant by this and assess whether ‘intensification’ adequately explains observed economic/ social/ technological changes in the archaeological record?

5) Rock art research is a specialist area that falls within the purview of archaeology, though it has its own distinct techniques, methods and implications. What contribution has rock art made to our understanding of the Australian human story? What can we learn from rock art that is not knowable from other forms of archaeology?

6)  Australians have built multicultural identities around a shared heritage. This includes a compendium of stories, preserved in memory, about important events and respected ancestors. Based on your research in oral histories and ethnoarchaeology/ social archaeology how far back do you think we might trace these histories and what limitations and advantages might we expect?

For all the above topics, ensure your answer is illustrated with reference to at least four case studies to help develop this argument.

You are expected to use at least 15 published sources to support your argument. You should not use any web pages as references for your essay (note that published journal articles accessed through the web do not constitute web pages).

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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.

Returning Assignments

Via Wattle

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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.

Resubmission of Assignments

No resubmission of assignments.

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

Archaeology of ritual and religion, Torres Strait history

Duncan Wright

By Appointment
By Appointment
Duncan Wright

Research Interests

Duncan Wright

By Appointment
By Appointment

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