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AHIS3300 – Archaeological Field Work

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, On location at placement

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Kenneth Sheedy
Contact via Contact via email
X5B 341
by appointment
PACE contact
Sian Paine
Contact via Contact via email
by appointment
Kyle Keimer
Contact via Contact via email
by appointment
Danijel Dzino
Contact via Contact via email
by appointment
Susan Lupack
Contact via Contact via email
by appointment
Yann Tristant
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Permission by special approval
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit is designed to facilitate archaeological fieldwork, which might take the form of excavation or an in-field archaeological project concerned with the processing, conservation and study of material from ancient societies or with the study of the environment in which ancient communities were situated. It is a PACE unit, and thus focused on experiential learning opportunities to promote a culture of transformative learning. The unit is supervised by the Department of Ancient History, so the overwhelming number of opportunities on offer for this unit are archaeological projects in the Mediterranean and surrounding countries. Many of the available archaeological projects are directed by or involve the staff of the department. We currently work in Italy, Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, Israel and Egypt. Available archaeological projects are listed by PACE on their website under 'pace opportunities'. To get started you must first search the PACE website, find the project you want, and then follow PACE instructions on how to enrol. It is usual for students to undertake fieldwork in the semester breaks over December-February or June-July. Your enrolment in this unit must be for the semester after the break in which your fieldwork occurred.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Develop a detailed knowledge of the archaeological methods and strategies which govern the design of their excavation.
  • ULO2: Acquire the skills to apply the archaeological practices in use at their site.
  • ULO3: Gain analytical and interpretative skills in archaeological research at an advanced level.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Recommended Reading

Depending on the area of excavation, the student may be required to obtain a copy of a standard archaeological textbook. As an introduction the student might consult:

J. Balme and A. Paterson (eds), Archaeological Practice: A Student Guide to Archaeological Analyses (ISBN: 978-0-470-65716-4) 2013, Wiley-Blackwell. Please contact the MQ supervisor of your chosen excavation.

Reconsidering Archaeological Fieldwork : Exploring On-Site Relationships Between Theory and Practice / edited by Hannah Cobb, Oliver J. T. Harris, Cara Jones, Philip Richardson. Boston, MA : Springer US, 2012. This e-book is available from MQ library.

Assignment Submission

The Journal (Task A) and Research Essay (Task C) must be submitted electronically via iLearn. For Presentation (Task B) you will be sent an email with the time of this session (and confirmation of all details). Students would normally offer a Powerpoint presentation. If you are out of the country at the time, or do not reside in Sydney, it is your responsibility to contact the unit convenor and discuss other means of completing the presentation - before the due date.

Assignment Extensions  

Extensions for assignments can only be granted for medical reasons or on compassionate grounds. Without documentation (medical or counselling certificates) or prior staff approval, a penalty will be applied (see below: 'Late Assessment Penalty'). If required, applications for extensions should be made before the assignment's due date. NB You should always keep a copy of completed tasks in case of loss.

Late Assessment Penalty

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for timed assessments – e.g. quizzes, online tests.

Satisfactory Completion of the Unit

Students must attend the excavation of their choice for the full period of their participation. This period of time will be determined in consultation with your MQ excavation supervisor at the time of enrollment. Failure to complete the full period of participation may result in disqualification from the unit unless there are satisfactory medical or compassionate grounds. Students must achieve an overall mark of 50% or above to complete the unit satisfactorily.

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

1. Prior to attendance at the archaeological project each student must participate in meetings convened by PACE.  They may also be asked to attend meetings organized by a MQ archaeological project director or supervisor.

2. Participation in the archaeological project.

3. On return from the project the following assessments must be completed by the dates given in the unit guide

a. journal

b. presentation

c. research essay

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

In 2020 the PACE unit AHIS 346 became the PACE unit AHIS 3300. Participation in the project will no longer be directly assessed.

Marking Rubrics

Marking rubrics are presented in iLearn

Technology used and Resources


You must consult with your MQ archaeologial project or excavation supervisor regarding the tasks you will be performing and the technology involved in your work.

Technology and Resources at MQ

The unit has an iLearn page which can be accessed at http://ilearn.mq.edu.au/. PC and Internet access are therefore required. Basic computer skills (e.g. internet browsing) and skills in word processing are also a requirement. Please consult your MQ excavation supervisor regarding any particular technology and resources relevant to your studies.

Work Health Safety and Emergency procedures

Work, Health, and Safety (WHS)

A PACE Activity is an experiential activity allocated to, and undertaken by, a student within a PACE unit which may take place in premises other than the University (usually the Partner Organisation’s premises). When working or studying in non-University premises, the primary responsibility for the health and safety of our students becomes that of the Partner Organisation hosting the student. However, as a student, you also have a legal responsibility under the Workplace Health & Safety Act 2011 and the Macquarie University Health & Safety Policy to ensure the health and safety of yourself and of others in the workplace. Each student has a moral and legal responsibility for ensuring that his or her work environment is conducive to good health and safety, by:

  • ensuring that their work and work area is without risk to the health and safety of themselves and others
  • complying with the University’s and Partner Organisation’s Work Health & Safety Policy and Procedures
  • reporting hazards and incidents as they occur in accordance with University and Partner Organisation’s policy
  • actively participating in all health and safety activities and briefing sessions (e.g.emergency evacuation procedures, site inspections etc.).

Each student is also required to advise their Unit Convenor or Faculty PACE Officer as soon as possible when:

  •  he/she feels unsafe at any stage during the PACE activity
  •  he/she did not receive a safety induction prior to the commencement of the activity covering: First aid, Fire and emergency evacuation; and Injury/incident reporting
  • he/she did not receive any specialised instructions/training necessary to carry out the role
  • an incident/accident happens (even when reported to the Partner Organisation/supervisor and managed by them)

Non-compliance with the above may result in withdrawal of the student from the PACE Activity. Underwater Archaeology. If you are planning to undertake underwater archaeology, please note that Macquarie University  

Underwater Archaeology. If you are planning to undertake underwater archaeology, please note that Macquarie University will require the following before you are allowed to enrol:

  • Copy of current diving medical certificate issued by an Australian doctor (to meet Australian standards) provided to MQ and to the organisation hosting the underwater archaeological project.
  • Copy of SCUBA dive certification (PADI qualification) provided to MQ and host institution. Dive certification is best obtained prior to departure to ensure the archaeological dives can proceed once on location.
  • Advanced Open Water certification (less than 18m depth) required through an internationally recognised diver training organisation
  •  Minimum 15 hours over 15 dives recorded in the student’s dive log-book

What to do in the case of an emergency:

  1.  Remove yourself from any danger.
  2. Speak to your excavation supervisor. The excavation may have emergency procedures to follow. THEN
  3. Contact your Unit Convenor by email as soon as you can to notify them of the incident.
  4. If you cannot reach your Unit Convenor, contact your Faculty PACE Officer by email to notify them of the incident.
  5. If necessary, Contact Customer Care (24 hours): +61 2 8907 5995 and quote Insurance Policy number: 01PP532077.

N.B. For any minor issues with your participation activity, please speak to your excavation Supervisor. If the problem is more serious, please contact your Unit Convenor or your Faculty PACE Officer.

If you are experiencing difficulties and need to speak to a counsellor:

Contact the MQ Counselling Service at Campus Wellbeing on +61 9850 7497 (Monday - Friday,8am-6pm, AEST).