• 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
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Philip Piper
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

The course provides an introduction to frameworks of archaeological science, namely how different lines of archaeological evidence are derived and interpreted. The course introduces the student to the intellectual roots of modern archaeology, with a specific focus upon the influences of different sciences (eg, biological, earth, material and social sciences). For example, several core concepts within archaeology have been ‘borrowed’ from different disciplines, including evolution, stratigraphy, taxonomic classification, interactions between the human species and the environment, and so on. Further, for each subject area, the course highlights the different ways in which the same lines of evidence are interpreted within archaeological discourse.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand how different lines of archaeological evidence are derived and interpreted;
  2. Critically analyse key debates within archaeological science;
  3. Develop a critical stance in order to assess interpretative claims which are based upon various lines of archaeological evidence; and
  4. Engage in constructive debate regarding issues in archaeological science

Indicative Assessment

Powerpoint presentations (1) 15% In class (10 minutes) LO: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Powerpoint presentations (2) 15% In class (10 minutes) LO: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Essay (1) 15% (1500 word) LO: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Essay (2) 15% (1500 word) LO: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Academic poster and presentation 30% (10 minutes) LO: 1, 2, 3

Reading logs 10% (3900 words) LO: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars; 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 ARCH 4004

Prescribed Texts

Dawkins, R. 2009 The Greatest Show on Earth: the evidence for evolution. Bantam Press: London.

Gamble, C. 2008 Archaeology:The Basics. 2nd edition. Routledge: London.

Turney, C. 2006 Bones, Rocks and Stars. The Science of when Things Happened.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $3630
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2588 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 In Person N/A

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