• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Archaeology
  • Areas of interest Archaeology, Environmental Studies, Environmental Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Tim Denham
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

The study of ‘natural’ deposits such as ice sheets, glaciers, marine and lake sediments, peat bogs and soils may be used to shed light on past climates and human environments. Such deposits are often rich in archaeobotanical remains, which can provide sensitive indicators of past climate, soils and vegetation, and animal remains, which inform about the resources available to past human populations. These assemblages provide us clues to interpret human behaviour and anthropogenic impact in the environment, as well as insights on how climate change has affected human populations from the Quaternary until the present.

Archaeology offers unique long-term and culturally-specific perspectives on human–climate interaction. Our discipline provides baselines for evaluating how past human populations have adapated to climate change in the past, thereby providing deep historical insights that assist our understanding of how people will react to contemporary climate issues such as sea level rise, island abandonment, biogeographic shifts and habitat change.

This course examines human–climate interaction in the archaeological record from the emergence of hominids and hominins, the evolution and dispersal of modern humans, adaptations to glacial cyclicity during the Pleistocene and in particular the last glacial maximum (LGM), and into the historic present.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. critically discuss the theories, methods, limitations and practice of environmental archaeology, with reference to past climate change;
  2. apply the methods and techniques of environmental archaeology to key case studies of past human-climate interaction;
  3. undertake a research project in environmental archaeology; and
  4. critically assess the value of different lines of archaeological evidence to understanding human-climate interactions in the past

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research on Archaeology and Climate Change comprising: (null) [LO null]
  2. - oral presentation (20-25 minutes) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. - essay (3000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Workshops/tutorial reports comprising: (null) [LO null]
  5. - 4 seminar-based assessments, 500 words each (25) [LO 1,2,4]
  6. - seminar participation and engagement (15) [LO 2,4]

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96 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks (each week comprises 3 hour seminar and occasionaly workshop); and

c) 60 hours of independent student research, reading and writing (each week approximately 5 hours).

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Lowe, J.J. and Walker, M.J.C. 1997 Reconstructing Quaternary Environments. (2nd edition) Addison Wesley Longman: Harlow.  

Williams, M., Dunkerley, D., De Dekker, P., Kershaw, P., and Chappell, J. 1998 (2nd edition) Quaternary Environments. Hodder Arnold: London.

Turney, C., Canti, M., Branch, N. 2005. Environmental archaeology: Theoretical and practical approaches, London: Routledge.


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
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8627 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View

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