ATS3544 - On a dig: Practical archaeology in the field - 2018

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

Monash Indigenous Studies Centre

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Ian McNiven


Professor Ian McNiven

Quota applies

This unit has a strict quota of 20 students for safety reasons associated with supervising students whilst undertaking fieldwork. Selection of students will be based on academic merit, with preference given to students who have already completed units in archaeology and Indigenous studies at Monash. Students should lodge an enrolment amendment form at the Faculty of Arts Student Service counter on the Clayton campus by 5pm 1 December. Enrolment decisions will be notified and processed on 10 December.

Unit guides



  • Term 1 2018 (Flexible)


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.


AIA2200, AIA3300, ATS2544



The unit provides students with a thorough grounding in archaeological field techniques. Field techniques include pre-fieldwork preparations (visits to archives and museums) and critical analysis of different approaches by archaeologists to find, record and excavate sites. Practical experience and tuition in each of these areas will be gained through 1 week of classes based at Clayton Campus plus 3 weeks of fieldwork in Victoria. On completion of the subject students will have first-hand appreciation of what it takes to excavate archaeological sites at a professional standard.


The overarching aims are to provide students with a through grounding in archaeological field techniques.

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. appreciate the broad range of conceptual and practical skills required to find, record and excavate archaeological sites;
  2. develop research skills in archival documents and museum objects;
  3. develop skills to critically evaluate site survey and excavation reports.


Within semester assessment: 70% + Exam: 30%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 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. + Additional requirements + Field trip

See also Unit timetable information

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