ATS1247 - Introducing archaeology 1 - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Centre for Ancient Cultures

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Jessie Birkett-Rees


Dr Jessie Birkett-Rees (Clayton)
Dr Ashten Warfe (Caulfield)

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


Archaeology is the study of the material culture (the things) that remain from past communities. In this unit we show you how we recover those remains through archaeological research, and how we can use them to understand the past and its relevance to the present. We examine the cultures of the Mediterranean world (Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran, and Greece) Asia and Australasia and focus on the period before 1000 BCE. We study the remains of houses, palaces, temples, pottery, tools, weapons, statues, and paintings, and we think about what they can tell us about the way communities organized their societies. We also incorporate the information we learn from written texts as well as from oral histories. Topics include human evolution, origins of farming, the growth of cities, the development of writing, the pyramids of Egypt, the complex societies of the Indus Valley, the Mycenaean kingdoms, and the fall of Troy. Hands-on tutorials explore the archaeological methods used to reconstruct ancient societies.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Recognize the range of archaeological material available for use in the reconstruction of ancient societies.
  2. Understand the advantages and limitations of the different methods employed in reconstructing the past.
  3. Know the major culture/historical periods of the Mediterranean and Australia before 1000 BCE.
  4. Identify the different political, social, economic and religious systems of each of the ancient cultures studied.
  5. Be aware of the significance of the cultural exchange that operated between regions.
  6. Be able to use artifacts, architecture, and text to critically appraise arguments about past communities.


Within semester assessment: 70% + Exam: 30%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study