Bringing the past to life 

Archaeology and History study tours give students a global perspective, while also honing their professional and technical skills


Dr Keir Strickland is leading a study tour to the Maldives in 2023.

A group of La Trobe Humanities and Social Sciences students will spend two weeks touring the country, investigating sustainability and the impact of climate change on the island’s rich cultural heritage.

“Study tours enable students to learn a global perspective, ‘in place’,” says Dr Strickland. “They develop professional, cultural and technical skills that can’t be taught in the classroom, and network with peers, academics and professionals overseas. It’s a unique experience that they can bring home to their studies and future employment.”

“In this study tour, we will explore the threats posed by rising sea-levels and coastal erosion, identify physical and digital strategies to preserve the nation’s heritage, and the impacts of tourism on the island’s cultural and natural heritage.”

Sri Lanka

Dr Keir Strickland is leading a three-week study tour for Archaeology students to Sri Lanka in 2023, to explore its rich heritage.

Study tours give students hands-on experience at sites and in cultural settings beyond those available in Australia. Students develop professional, cultural and technical skills that can’t be taught in the classroom.

They leave with high employability, thanks to education and networking with world class professionals from around the world.

“In this study tour, we will visit the vast urban and hydraulic landscapes of the ancient capitals, and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa,” he explains.

“We will also work with Sri Lankan archaeologists and students to learn about archaeological recording and survey techniques.”

Drimolen, South Africa

Professor Andy Herries is leading the three-week Drimolen Palaeoanthropology Field School in June 2023.

Field Schools give students the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience and learn from world leading experts.

“In this Field School, undergraduate Archaeology students will explore the Drimolen hominin fossil site near Johannesburg in South Africa, world-famous sites including Sterkfontein and Swartkrans, undertake evening discipline-relevant lectures, and experience a safari,” he explains.

Fossils have been found at the Drimolen site at every Field School, giving students a new-found perspective on humanity’s shared origins.

“This includes the world’s oldest Homo erectus, and the most complete skull of a sidebranch in our evolution called Paranthropus robustus. The discovery and research on these fossils were both student-led and changed our understanding of our own evolution,” says Herries.

“We aim to provide students with a full introduction to the field of human origins during this trip, and provide them with a glimpse into research. Many participants continue on to a Higher Degree by Research. And, because of the competence and technical proficiency developed by participants at the Field Schools, they are highly sought after by employers.”

Amanzi Springs, South Africa

Professor Andy Herries is leading a field trip to Amanzi Springs in South Africa in November 2022.

The field trip will include excavation at the Amanzi Springs Acheulean to Middle Stone Age archaeological site, that has yielded some of the oldest potential wooden tool technology at a period when our own species Homo sapiens was first evolving.

“Field trips provide students with the opportunity to hone technical skills ‘in place’, bringing them new perspectives on the past,” says Herries. “They learn directly from experts from across the globe.”

They are also gateways to a research career, as students are exposed to new and different ways of thinking.

“This field trip is aimed at students wanting to develop Honours or graduate research projects,” he explains. “So, we will focus on teaching students about excavating field methods including sites, geology and sampling for laboratory analysis.”

United Kingdom

The Department of Archaeology and History is partnering with Sheffield Hallam University on ‘The Full Monty’ study tour to Sheffield in 2024.

Study tours enable students to engage with the past, at the site of historic events.

“In this study tour, second and third-year students will spend two weeks in and around Sheffield, one of the world’s first industrial cities, including visits to York, Manchester and Haworth,” explains Associate Professor Emma Robertson.

“We will explore the archaeology, history and culture of northern England and analyse its critical role in the rise and decline of modern industrial Britain and the British Empire,” says Robertson. “We will also examine how the city of Sheffield and the local region is responding to the contemporary challenges of reinventing traditions and cultures.”

“Students who undertake study tours have the opportunity to engage with peers and professionals from different disciplines, giving them a global perspective. Being ‘in place’ brings new perspectives on the past, which students can take home to their studies and future employment.”

Find out more about the Department of Archaeology and History. Visit the website and LinkedIn.