• Class Number 2014
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Duncan Wright
    • Duncan Wright
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

How many courses do you know that provide tools required to unravel past lives from ancient sites and objects? This course aims to do just that, giving you an introduction to archaeology and the various techniques archaeologists use to investigate the past. Archaeologists dig holes in the ground, but they also work underwater, in museums and in laboratories. You will learn about all these archaeologies, get hands-on experience working with archaeological materials and develop skills required to review and interpret the archaeological literature.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. apply essential skills for classifying and interpreting archaeological materials;
  2. understand the diversity of archaeological techniques and their roles in uncovering information about past peoples;
  3. critique archaeological excavation reports and evaluate the quality of fieldwork and the conclusions reached; and
  4. identify objects in museum collections and reflect on the information they contain.

Field Trips


Required Resources

To maintain a COVID safe environment, you will need to either bring your laptop/ tablet (with laboratory worksheet document downloaded from Wattle) OR a notebook and pen to each laboratory. You will also not be allowed into laboratories should you not have a face mask.

Renfrew, C. and P. Bahn. 2008. Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice (5th Edition or equivalent). London: Thames and Hudson.

McIntosh, J. 1999. “The Practical archaeologist: How we know what we know about the past” (2nd edition). New York: Facts on File.

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 be aware that slight changes may occur to order of lectures/ laboratories. It is important you regularly check Wattle for updates.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Archaeology adventures
2 Beyond digging in the dirt
3 The Archaeologies
4 Archaeology realities
5 Archaeology of art
6 Enter the stone age
7 Ancient sediments & Exam Workshop Assessment 1
8 Measuring time
9 Using pots to get to people
10 Let the bones speak
11 Putting the past back together Assessment 2

Tutorial Registration

see Wattle for details

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Essay about a museum object (2500 words) 30 % 1,2,4
Laboratory Portfolio 30 % 1,2,3
Short Answer Exam (take home test) 40 % 1,2

* 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.


Both Lectures and Laboratories are assessed. The former through a take home test and the latter through laboratory worksheets. It is therefore a requirement that you watch all lectures and attend laboratories. To do so, you will need to pick a laboratory group during or before the first week of Semester.

Some lectures have been pre-recorded while others will take place using ZOOM (see info on Wattle). Please be aware that we will meet each week on ZOOM (whether or not there is a live lecture). This provides an opportunity to go through questions that may arise during the take home test relating to this theme. This will also be an opportunity for you to raise any issues that have come up in the interim.


This course includes a take home test.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Essay about a museum object (2500 words)

Purpose of assignment

This will prepare you for future work in cultural heritage by increasing your capacity for analysing and interpreting archaeological artefacts. Specifically, you will learn how artefact form (and archaeological context) allows you to interpret a human story.


Visit a museum with archaeological material on display (such as the National Museum of Australia in Canberra). Choose an object on display, research it and write an object history based on your research.


Using the skills learned in this course and your own independent research you should:

Describe the object (e.g. raw material/manufacture techniques).

Situate the object (e.g. place of origin, age, if possible other artefacts found at the same site);

Discuss how archaeologists have used this object (and others like it) to study past human behaviour, technology, economy and / or ideology;

Describe how are knowledge of context (where it was found and how old it is) increases our understanding about this object.

Evaluate how the object is displayed in the museum, what it is displayed with, what information is given to the public and whether you believe this display is appropriate based on your own research.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Laboratory Portfolio


No word count.

Purpose of assignment

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!


Word document worksheets have been uploaded on Wattle. These we will complete during the laboratories. Each laboratory you will need to either bring along your laptop/ tablet with this download or a notebook and pen in order to write down your answers.

The remaining sections you will fill out at home as you reflect on the lab tasks and how this might fit with what you learnt through lectures and course readings.

Grades for each worksheet will be amalgamated and then averaged to provide a final mark. Should you be unable to attend any tutorials (and try very hard to avoid this) please advise your tutor so alternative arrangements can be made.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Short Answer Exam (take home test)


40 questions, 2-4 sentences per question (timed - 3 hours)

Purpose of assignment

The purpose of this test is to measure your overall comprehension of material covered during the semester. This will provide you with a solid foundation in archaeological practice.


For this assignment you will be answering questions about the topics discussed during the course (lectures and tutorials). For this reason it is vital that you listen to lectures and attend laboratories. To show a solid comprehension of course material you must also read textbooks and other assigned material.

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.

An online test (Assessment 3) can be accessed in Week 12 of the semester. This you can complete over a 24 hour period, however, once you start the test you have 3 hours to complete it.

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. For this course, however, online submission is required.

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

Assignment grades will be returned 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

Students may not re-submit 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

Australian archaeology, archaeology of ritual and religion

Duncan Wright

By Appointment
By Appointment
Duncan Wright

Research Interests

Duncan Wright

By Appointment
By Appointment

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