The Department of Archaeology is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).

About the major

Archaeologists employ material culture to study our human past. A major in Archaeology will equip you with the intellectual and practical skills to gather, analyse and interpret primary archaeological evidence in order to answer questions about prehistoric and historic societies.

In your first year you will complete two foundation units, ARCA1000 Early Humans: Hunters and Farmers and ARCA1001 Ancient Civilisations. No prior knowledge of Archaeology is assumed. You may replace one of these units with one of the following units: ANHS1600, ANHS1601, ANTH1001, ARHT1001 or HSTY1089.

In your senior years you will study ARCA2635 Explanation and Theory in Archaeology to develop further your understanding of the main themes and approaches of enquiry that underpin the archaeological discipline. You will also select a number of other 2000 level units that will equip you with archaeological skills and/or a regional specialism in Asian/Australian/Classical/Middle Eastern Archaeology. Your major will culminate in your choice of at least one specialised 3000 level unit that will train you in advanced level analytical and research skills relevant to Archaeology.

Pathway through the major

A major in Archaeology requires 36 senior credit points from the unit of study table including ARCA2635 and at least 6 credit points at 3000 level.

The units of study for the major can be found in the Table A unit of study table for Archaeology. The table shows units of study which are on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

Junior units of study (1000 level)

In these units you will first engage with a broad overview of the evolution of humans, both physical and social, and will then investigate the emergence of major civilisations of the Old World. You will learn how to use archaeological evidence as a tool to reconstruct the human past. No prior knowledge of archaeology or ancient history is assumed.

Progression to senior level units of study usually requires completion of two junior level units of study in Archaeology, but you may replace one of these with one of the following:

  • ANHS1600 Foundations for Ancient Greece
  • ANHS1601 Foundations for Ancient Rome
  • ANTH1001 Cultural Difference: An Introduction
  • ARHT1001 Art and Experience
  • HSTY1089 Australia: Conflict and Transformation
Senior-intermediate units of study (2000 level)

A major in Archaeology requires the completion of ARCA2635 Explanation and Theory in Archaeology. This compulsory unit will underpin your senior studies by introducing you to the main themes and approaches of enquiry that form the basis of archaeological study such as cultural systems, gender and ethnoarchaeology.

When choosing your 2000 level units, you should consider what balance you want between archaeological skills-based study (e.g., Field Methods, Digital Methods, Advanced Archaeology Practicum, Archaeological Principles and Practice), thematic Archaeology topics (e.g., Archaeology in Film, Global Dispersal of Humans, Mobility and the Sedentary Transition) and regionally specific units that include Asian, Australian, Classical and Middle Eastern Archaeology.

Senior-advanced units of study (3000 level)

To complete a major in Archaeology requires completion of at least six credit points at 3000 level. To enrol in 3000 level units, students must have completed at least 18 credit points at 2000 level including ARCA2635.

All students who fulfil the requirements for entry are encouraged to apply for honours.


The Department offers a single honours program in Archaeology while letting students specialise in the subject area of their choice. Honours entry requires a credit average in 48 senior credit points in Archaeology.

Students intending to enrol in Archaeology Honours should normally have obtained credit or better results in one or more units at 3000 level.

Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.

Contact/further information

More information about the Archaeology program is available at:, or by phoning the school on +61 2 9351 2862.