Credit points: 15

Subject outline

In this subject, students will learn about how scientific techniques (from chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry and informatics) can be applied to answer archaeological questions. In order to understand how these techniques work, students will learn relevant concepts of the physical sciences, and how these techniques often need to be modified due to the unique nature of archaeological materials. A range of commonly applied techniques will be discussed and how they can contribute to archaeological data such as , scientific dating, materials analysis and bioarchaeology. Students will gain an understanding of how to interpret scientific data (accuracy, precision, sampling and statistics) and how this is used in archaeological interpretation. Students will be encouraged to understand and criticise scientific data used in archaeology and use their improved scientific literacy in the academic and practical realms.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorGeorgia Roberts

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesDiscussions in class and tutorials and tutorial assignment and short answer exam. Research and write a medium length essay reviewing an aspect of archaeological science

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Students must have completed at least 60 credit points or obtain the subject coordinators permission


Incompatible subjectsARC3SCI

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

COMMUNICATION - Communicating and Influencing
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Creativity and Innovation
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS - Research and Evidence-Based Inquiry
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL - Ethical and Social Responsibility

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Locate and appropriately use relevant sources investigate and present justifiable arguments about the validity and usefulness of scientific techniques applied to archaeological questions.
02. Explain and discuss common archaeological science techniques used in the field. The principles behind the techniques and what they are used for and their limitations.
03. Examine and analyse scientific data applied to archaeological problems, generating arguments based on appropriate graphical and numerical manipulations
04. Demonstrate an understanding of current trends and arguments in areas of archaeological science and how these areas have contributed to archaeological knowledge by composing a well justified argument using correct referencing

Subject options

Select to view your study options…

Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2021, Semester 2, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorGeorgia Roberts

Class requirements

Laboratory ClassWeek: 30 - 42
One 1.00 hour laboratory class per week on weekdays during the day from week 30 to week 42 and delivered via blended.

LectureWeek: 30 - 42
One 2.00 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 30 to week 42 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

On-line quizzes (through LMS) supplied regularly through the semester (750 words equivalent)

N/AQuizzesIndividualNo20 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3

Two 750-word workshop assignments

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo40 SILO1, SILO3

One 1500-word essay

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo40 SILO1, SILO2, SILO4