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AHIS1300 – Digging up the Past: An Introduction to Archaeology

2020 – Session 1, Fully online/virtual

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, lecturer and tutor
A/Prof. Yann Tristant
Contact via Contact via Email
Australian Hearing Hub, South Wing, Level 2
By appointment only
Lecturer and tutor
Ms Jacinta Carruthers
Contact via In class
Australian Hearing Hub, South Wing, Level 2
By appointment only
Elizabeth Brice
Contact via In class
Australian Hearing Hub, South Wing, Level 2
By appointment only
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit serves as a broad introduction to archaeology, where students become familiar with its fundamental principles and concepts. Students will study the emergence of archaeology as a discipline, its purpose and aims. This unit will provide students with a foundation in the various methods and analytical techniques used to study archaeological evidence by using a combination of theory and practical case studies drawn from all periods of archaeology. Students will explore the various ways of interpreting archaeological remains, taking into account the multidisciplinary nature of the discipline.

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:

  • ULO2: Analyse source material, including archaeological records, ancient sources, and modern scholarship
  • ULO1: Acquire knowledge of the archaeological discipline
  • ULO4: Communicate archaeological information and concepts through oral, visual and written formats
  • ULO3: Identify fundamental developments, theories and techniques of archaeology
  • ULO5: Demonstrate critical thinking in reading of the literature and interpretation of the data

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


Lecture: Monday 4-6pm

Location: 14 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Ave - T4 Theatre

Online units can be accessed at: https://ilearn.mq.edu.au PC and Internet access are required for those who wish to access iLearn. Basic computer skills (e.g., internet browsing) and skills in word processing are also a requirement. Please consult teaching staff for any further, more specific requirements.

Resources The unit will be based on the following text books, which can be purchased at the Co-Op bookstore (http://www.coop-bookshop.com.au):

Required Texts:

  • Gamble, C. (2015), Archaeology. The basics, London, New York, 3rd ed.
  • Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. (2016), Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice, London, 7th ed.

Recommended Texts:

  • Bahn, P. (2012), Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, New York.
  • Cullen, J. (2013), How to Read, Write, and Think about History, Malden, Oxford.
  • Scarre, C. (2018), The Human Past, London, 4th ed.

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






Introduction. What is Archaeology?

No assessment



History of Archaeology.

From Ancient to Modern Archaeology

Online quiz 1



Archaeological theory.

Methodology and philosophy of Archaeology from 19th century to present

Online quiz 2



Archaeological Fieldwork 1 - Research design and survey

Artefact Study due

(22 March 2020)

No online quiz



Archaeological Fieldwork 2 - Excavation

Online quiz 3



Archaeological data. Culture and context

Online quiz 4



Dating sites and artefacts: relative vs absolute chronology

Online quiz 5

                                                                    MID-SESSION BREAK



Material culture: significance of artefacts for Archaeology

Encyclopedia entry due

(3 May 2020)

No online quiz



Art, Rock Art and Archaeology of ritual

Online quiz 6



Archaeology of social complexity

Online quiz 7



Archaeology at Macquarie University

(National Archaeology Week)

Online quiz 8



Funerary Archaeology

Online quiz 9



Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

Online quiz 10

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 since First Published

Date Description
23/02/2020 Teaching staff added
13/02/2020 Schedule amended
13/02/2020 Deliver time was amended