ATS1248 - Introducing archaeology 2 - 2019

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 Hilary Gopnik


Dr Hilary Gopnik

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


This unit examines how archaeological and historical evidence can be used to study territorial and cultural expansion in the past. We focus on the development of the first empires in the Mediterranean including Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Athens, Macedonia of Alexander the Great, and Rome as well as the original spread of settlements in Australia and the Pacific. We explore how archaeological remains and historical texts can be used to study the movement of people and ideas and to identify the tactics states use to expand, strengthen, and celebrate their power, including military conquest, colonisation, trade, art, and literature. We examine the military ideology of the Assyrians, the internationalism of the Persians, the culture of classical Athens that built the Parthenon, the sweeping conquests of Alexander the Great, the hybrid culture of Kleopatra's Egypt, and the economic-military power of Rome under Caesar and Augustus. Hands-on tutorials explore the archaeological and historical methods used to reconstruct complex ancient societies.


Upon successful completion of the unit, students will:

  1. recognize the range of archaeological material available for use in the reconstruction of complex societies and empires;
  2. understand the advantages and limitations of the different methods employed in reconstructing past societies and cultural contacts;
  3. know the major cultures and historical periods of the Mediterranean from 1000 BCE to the fall of Rome, as well as key points in the settlement of Australia and the South Pacific;
  4. identify the different tactics used by empires to incorporate, influence, and appropriate the territory and culture of surrounding regions;
  5. analyse the structure and significance of the cultural exchange that operated between regions;
  6. critically appraise arguments about past communities through the use of archaeological and historical evidence.


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