• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Archaeology, History, Asian Studies, Asia Pacific Studies, Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course

The course examines the archaeological evidence for broad-scale cultural and social developments in China from the time of arrival of modern humans (ca. 40,000 years before present) through the Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220). Specific topics include: the nature of early hunting and gathering societies; the emergence of plant and animal domestication; the development of metallurgy and the roles of agriculture, technology, trade and warfare in the rise of advanced civilisation during the Shang and Zhou periods; innovation and competition among the Eastern Zhou states; the significance of ancient texts; the unification of China under the First Emperor; and continuing political, intellectual and artistic achievements during the 400-year-long Han Dynasty.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Discuss major research issues in Chinese archaeology in full detail, with reference to a number of real-life examples, and in comparison to the body of global-scale research in other regions;
  2. Critique the portrayals of Chinese archaeology in history in academic literature, using in-depth critical analysis of logical arguments and developing original new interpretations with independent thought;
  3. Demonstrate thorough knowledge of the processes and impacts of cultural events and developments in China throughout the time-span of approximately 40,000 BC through AD 220, furthermore accounting for the varied contexts of different time periods and geographic areas within this large scope;
  4. Apply this information toward independent new research of the Asia-Pacific region or cross-regionally, clarifying how the knowledge of Chinese archaeology contributes in world scholarship; and
  5. Communicate the technical findings, methodologies and theories of Chinese archaeology to both specialised academic and general audiences, through effective measurable output.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Participation and leadership in class and tutorial sessions (10) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. A presentation of 20 minutes about an advanced and novel topic during one tutorial session (this presentation will be recorded, as is done for all lectures by the convenor) (25) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. A first essay of 3000 words, demonstrating advanced reading and communication skills, critical analysis, and thorough knowledge of a significant topic (30) [LO 1,2,3]
  4. A second essay of 3000 words, demonstrating advanced reading and communication skills, critical analysis,and thorough knowledge of a significant topic (35) [LO 1,2,3]

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.


The course will meet for one hour, 3 times per week. Student workload is estimated at 10 to 11 hr/week. The total workload for the course is 130 hours including in class time and independent study. 

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Recommended Textbooks: 

The following book will be extensively consulted throughout this course: 

Chang, K.C. and Pingfang Xu (ed.) 2005. The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective. New Heaven and London: Yale University and New World Press. 

Other Recommended Books: 

Liu, Li and Xingcan Chen. 2012. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Anne P. Underhill (Editor) 2013 A Companion to Chinese Archaeology. Wiley Blackwell, New York.

Preliminary Reading

A complete list of assigned weekly readings, taken from the above books and other additional sources, is provided for each the class schedule section. PDF copies of these class readings will be uploaded to Wattle site.

Assumed Knowledge

Interest in China and in archaeology; No Chinese language ability is required. 


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
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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