• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Archaeology
  • Areas of interest Archaeology

Environmental archaeologists routinely apply techniques and interpretations derived from the biological and geophysical sciences to archaeological problems. The interpretation of archaeological evidence with respect to human–environment interactions in the past, including environmental change, is referred to under the umbrella term ‘environmental archaeology’. Although definitions vary, human activities are considered within broad environmental contexts, which can range from the region, to the landscape, to the landform, to the site … and even down to individual particles.

In this course, we will cover the concepts, methods and techniques commonly adopted by environmental archaeologists, as well as engage in practical exercises (either obtained in the laboratory or using pre-existing datasets). Drawing on examples from across the world, we will consider how lines of environmental archaeological evidence have informed our understanding of how people utilised resources in the past, including: how various proxies contribute to local, regional and global records of environmental change; and, how people impacted and modified specific environments in the past. Several fields within environmental archaeology are of particular focus: archaeobotany, geoarchaeology, palaeoecology and zooarchaeology.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. critically evaluate the main concepts, methods and techniques of environmental archaeology;
  2. assess the two-way character of human-environment interactions in the past, with particular reference to limitations of the multidisciplinary evidence; and
  3. undertake a practical analysis of a dataset to address an environmental archaeological problem.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Essay, 2500 words (40) [LO 1,2]
  2. Wattle Quizzes x 2 (20) [LO 1,2]
  3. Laboratory/analytical report, 2000 words (40) [LO 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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials and tutorial-like activities; and

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading, and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you should have completed 6 units of 1000 level Archaeology (ARCH) courses, or obtain permission of the convener. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ARCH6041.

Prescribed Texts

Branch, N., Canti, M., Clark, P & Turney, C. 2005. Environmental Archaeology: Theoretical and Practical Approaches. London: Hodder.

Evans, J. & O'Connor, T.P. 1999. Environmental Archaeology: Principles and Methods. Stroud (UK): Sutton Publishing Ltd.

Lowe, J.J. & Walker, M.J.C. 1997 (2nd Ed.). Reconstructing Quaternary Environments. Harlow (UK): Prentice Hall.

Oldfield, F. 2005. Environmental Change: Key Issues and Alternative Approaches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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 $5280
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8876 21 Jul 2025 28 Jul 2025 31 Aug 2025 24 Oct 2025 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions