arc1dar discovering archaeology




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject presents an exploration of mankind's discovery of the historic and prehistoric past and the subsequent development of archaeological inquiry. It looks at how archaeologists work. We will examine the methods and theories used to generate archaeological knowledge through a series of case studies based on work undertaken by archaeologists at La Trobe. We assess the wide array of remains available for archaeological analysis, in both the past and present. Students will learn the scientific basis from which archaeologists interpret the lives of past peoples. Research carried out by Archaeology staff at La Trobe illustrates many of the problems and questions archaeologists investigate. Their work provides a series of case studies providing a continuity of material through the different topics, and allows us to critically evaluate the way we actually go about setting up research projects and collecting, analyzing and interpreting material remains.

SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorRichard Cosgrove

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 1 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditions Core subject at first-year level in an Archaeology major for the ABA - Bachelor of Arts at the Melbourne campus.

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsQuest for the Past: Great Discoveries in ArchaeologyPreliminaryFagan, Brian M.2ND EDITION, WAVELAND, 1994
ReadingsArchaeology: Theories, Methods and PracticePrescribedColin Renfrew and Paul Bahn 6th Edition, Thames and Hudson,Paperback, 2012

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Appreciate the range of past societies through studing their material remains, the range of responses to heritage in the present, and the role of archaeology in managing heritage

Lecture presentation and tutorial discussion in teams of aspects of cultural variability of the material record across time and space, of situation where heritage values conflict, and of heritage legislation and professional codes of ethics, assessed in essay, assignments and exam
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Ethical & Cultural Awareness(Ethical & Cultural Awareness)

02. Carry out independent research by locating relevant sources

Essay and short assignments
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Inquiry/ Research(Inquiry/ Research)

03. Demonstrate ability to engage with peers in developing and expressing an argument clearly, convincingly, and with the use of appropriate evidence

Modelling of oral presentation using multi-media in lectures, student participation in tutorial discussions and activities
Related graduate capabilities and elements:

04. Have an awareness of individual responsibilities as custodians of heritage, and of ways continuing involvement through avocational and professional societies

Lecture presentation and tutorial discussion of archaeology's place in the community, assessed in essay and exam
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Life-Long Learning(Life-Long Learning)

05. Identify differences between primary and secondary sources of evidence

Tutorial activities, essay and short assignments
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Critical Thinking(Critical Thinking)

06. Individual contributions to the group in formulating a response to various archaeological questions

In a team, carry out tutorial activities that focus on building appropriate responses to real and hypothetical archaeological case studies
Related graduate capabilities and elements:

07. Investigate the various material culture correlates that identify various cultural historical groupings

Use of on-line case studies in tutorial activities, essay, short assignments, and exam
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Creative Problem-solving(Creative Problem-solving)

08. Write a medium length essay using the Harvard referencing system.

Short tutorial assignments and 1800 word essay and essay outline with bibliography.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2015, Semester 1, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorRichard Cosgrove

Class requirements

TutorialWeek: 10 - 22
One 1.0 hours tutorial per week on weekdays at night from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.

LectureWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
Two one-hour examinations (2400 word eq.)4501, 04, 07
One 1800-word essay3001, 02, 04, 05, 07, 08
Submit 5 multiple choice questions via PeerView2502, 03, 05, 06