• 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, Biological Anthropology, Classics and Ancient History, Forensic Anthropology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Mathieu Leclerc
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

This core course introduces students to the range of archaeological science methods and techniques which one can expect to use in field- and laboratory-based archaeological research and heritage management projects, evaluated within an explicitly archaeological methodology. A background in the history of the field will first be given, and the theoretical debates concerning the role of archaeological science within the wider field of archaeology will be discussed. Various sub-disciplines within archaeological science will be introduced. Field trips and/or practical study will also be an integral aspect of this course.

Where field trips or practical study involves travel outside of Canberra (including to other parts of the ACT), students will only be permitted to undertake this travel upon completion of ANU required documentation and the approval of all documentation by the relevant delegate.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. explain and critique the relationships between environmental sciences, archaeology and historical and social disciplines ;
  2. apply basic principles derived from physical sciences in natural systems to archaeological research design and data interpretation ;
  3. understand the research context of key developments in archaeological science as a discipline ;
  4. plan and investigate archaeological deposits and apply a range of techniques to record and disseminate the results of excavation and mapping; and
  5. explain basic field contextual analysis and assessment of archaeological sites within holistic frameworks bridging biological, chemical and physical sciences, and archaeology.

Indicative Assessment

  1. In-class powerpoint presentation, 20 minutes (10) [LO 3,4]
  2. Discussion on topics presented in the powerpoint, 20 minutes (10) [LO 3,4]
  3. Short report and Analysis (1500 words) (10) [LO 2]
  4. Topic-based archaeological science essay (2000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  5. Field report (2000 words) (25) [LO 3,4,5]
  6. Archaeological Fieldwork proposal (1500 words) (25) [LO 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.


260 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 12 hours of lectures and 24 hours of seminars;

b) a 5 day field work program on campus comprising 37.5 hours intensive field training (inclusive of any travel); and

c) 186.5 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable

Preliminary Reading

Useful general reading:

Brothwell, D.R. and Pollard, A.M. (Eds.) 2008. Handbook of Archaeological Sciences: Chichester: Wiley and Sons Ltd.

Evans, J. and O’Connor, T. 1999. Environmental archaeology: Principles and Methods, Stroud: Sutton Publishing Ltd.

Lowe, J.J. and Walker, M.J.C. 1984. Reconstructing Quaternary environments, Edinburgh Gate: Longman Ltd.

Goldberg, P. and Macphail, R.I. 2006. Practical and theoretical geoarchaeology, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Matisoo-Smith, E. and Horsburgh, K.A. 2012. DNA for archaeologists, Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.

O’Connor, T. 2000. The archaeology of animal bones, Stroud: Sutton Publishing Ltd.


Assumed Knowledge

Basic background in Archaeological Science.


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:
12 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.

12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $7920
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $11640
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

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
2009 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 In Person View

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