• Class Number 7332
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Mathieu Leclerc
    • Dr Mathieu Leclerc
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

From Indiana Jones to Agatha Christie, archaeology and archaeologists are disproportionately well represented in big budget films, and are recurrent subjects in some genres of fictional writing. This course focuses on ideas of archaeology presented in popular culture and will appeal to archaeologically-interested students of film, anthropology, and literature, as well as archaeology students. It is a course in archaeology that deals with the depictions of archaeology by and for non-archaeologists and the implications of those depictions; and it looks at the insights that film and fiction dealing with archaeology might provide about the operation of popular culture. Lectures include film and film commentary.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify the themes in the depiction of archaeology across a range of media;
  2. identify and analyse the imaginative appeal of archaeology;
  3. critique and analyse the role representations that archaeology/archaeologists play in authorising various dominant and popular historical and cultural narratives;
  4. identify and analyse the ways in which depictions of archaeology are used to propagate and authorise ethnocentric and gendered understandings of the past; and
  5. analyse the inter-relationship between archaeological practice and its representation in film and other media.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This week we’ll talk about what archaeology looks like in pop culture and mass media, how it shows up and why we’re interested in it. We’ll also discuss the course aims, structure and assessments so that everyone is on the same page.
2 This week we’re going to start our exploration of archaeology on film with a classic: Indiana Jones. The question we are trying to answer is to what extent does Indiana Jones not just influence public perceptions of archaeology/archaeologists but also reflect elements of the field as it existed and continues to exist. We’ll investigate the colonialist and masculinist background against which archaeology developed and in which it continues to operate.
3 This week’s theme is the lure of pseudoscientific interpretations of archaeological data. We’ll be asking the question of why “It was aliens!” is so much more credible to a large segment of the population than “It was ancient (largely non-white) people”. Our lecture and seminar will focus on questions of fact and fiction and the role that race plays in public understandings of the past.
4 This week digs further into the question of how our understanding of the past developed and how the past is perceived in mass media. Building on last week, our lecture and discussion will look closely at the film Apocalypto its depiction of ancient and non-white people. We’ll focus specifically on how 19th century ideas of race influenced the archaeological and popular view of the past.
5 Much has changed since the 1970s, but Indigenous Australians are still struggling to tell their stories themselves. This week we will look at the emerging world of Indigenous Archaeology and think about how Indigenous perspectives enrich and alter our view of the past. The focus will be on how archaeologists can work with Indigenous communities to amplify their voices and address their concerns.
6 This week we will look at the way gender is portrayed in popular archaeological stories as well as the way our discipline itself is gendered. Gender is something that archaeology only started to grapple with in the last couple of decades and many archaeologists still refuse to consider the ways our present ideas of gender and sexuality affect our view of the past. We’ll look at how that plays out.
7 This week we’ll look at the problem of looting and treasure hunting. We’ll explore both the image of the looter in mass media and how (or if!) archaeologists differ from looters when they investigate ancient sites. We shall begin to ask who defines the value of the past and who benefits from it.
8 This lecture will address comics studies and archaeology in comics. Ways to use successfully the medium will be presented and the relationships between comics and archaeology in the Pacific in particular will be explored.
9 This week we’ll build on the last several weeks’ themes to think about how heritage preservation is portrayed in mass media and discussed within the field of archaeology as a romantic and ambitious endeavour. We’ll look at Eurocentric ideas of what constitutes heritage and ask who gets to determine what happens to ancient monuments.
10 This week, we will turn our eyes to satirical depictions of archaeology and the ancient world. This lecture will draw together some of the critiques we have levelled at archaeology and its depiction in mass media/popular culture this semester and return to the question about what in particular makes archaeology so compelling for non-archaeologists.
11 Archaeogaming
12 Archaeogaming

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
REVIEW ESSAY 25 % 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2


Each tutorial will include two student presentations 10 minutes in length. These will be selected at the start of the semester and will be directly linked to the tutorial topics. Presentations will take the form of a debate with each team of students presenting one side of a single issue and the remaining class time will be spent discussing the arguments put forward in the context of the film, readings and the lectures.

You may use visual support although this is not required. Visual support can consist of posters, photocopied handouts, costumes, dioramas, or PowerPoint. If a PowerPoint presentation is put together, it must be no longer than 2 slides, excluding references.

A one page summary of the presentation and a full bibliography must be submitted by midnight on wattle on the day of the presentation.

The presentations will be assessed based on:

? Relevance and quality of the information provided

? Clarity of oral presentation and of presentation materials (slides, handout, etc)

? Choice and use of supporting examples.

? Participation in class discussion

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5


Each week students should prepare a short (ca 300 word) response to the readings in light of the seminar, lecture and film. These may be emotive, analytical or critical, but they must substantively engage with the readings and should quote or reference specific arguments. These critical responses 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 the required readings, and note scenes from the week’s film and/or aspects of the lecture or seminar discussion which you found compelling. Your portfolio entries 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 watching the film, 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?

? How did the film reflect the theme?

? What were the main ideas brought up in the discussion?

? 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 film, 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 portfolio entries – 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 film, from discussion and from lectures

? Accuracy describing issues and facts

? Depth of understanding

? Originality

? Use of explicit examples to support your comments

? Critical approach to academic sources

? Structure and presentation

? Participation in class discussions

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


You are required to write a 1,000 word review of a film, TV series (not a single episode unless it is feature-film length) or other media (e.g. comic book or comic series, novel) which depicts either archaeology/archaeologists OR the ancient world. You may NOT use one of the films we have watched in class.

The review will describe the archaeological content of the media and discuss its resonance with the larger course themes (from lectures/tutorials) and wider context, e.g. the intended audience, the date the material was released (and thus its immediate cultural context), the visual or other prompts used by the film/media to make its point, the nature of the archaeological data being presented, the way particular issues associated with the past are presented, etc.

This is a short essay but should be written to the highest academic standards with full and complete references (reference lists will not count towards the word count). To help you write this essay, you should look at critical reviews of films on the reading list and available on several archaeology websites (reviews of archaeological media have been published on archaeology.org and archaeology.about.com as well as in academic journals).

The essays will be assessed on the following criteria:

? Accuracy in describing issues and facts

? Depth of understanding

? Originality

? Relevance of critiques to central argument

? Use of explicit examples to support your argument

? Critical approach to academic sources

? Use of bibliography

? Structure and presentation

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5


In teams, you are required to produce a non-traditional output (NTO; e.g. short film, comic book, anime, board game, video game, etc.) addressing one of the topics addressed in class during the semester (e.g. colonialism and mass media archaeology, public archaeology on tv, Indigenous perspectives on popular media, archaeology and humour, etc.) and describing how this issue/aspect can be improved via non-traditional research outputs.

Your output will be accompanied by a research essay of 1,500 words written to the highest academic standards with full and complete references (reference lists will not count towards the word count). You are required to carry out independent research and demonstrate that the arguments presented in your NTO are based on academic scholarship. The essay will expand on the chosen topic through the use of further examples—both of academic material and of relevant archaeological mass media—to make an argument about the portrayal of the discipline of archaeology; the use of archaeologically known settings/characters; the use of engaging outreach material for the public.

More details about this will be presented during the Introduction lecture on Week 1.

The outputs 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

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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.

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 Mathieu Leclerc

Research Interests

Dr Mathieu Leclerc

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Mathieu Leclerc

Research Interests

Dr Mathieu Leclerc

By Appointment
By Appointment

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