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ANT2008 Archaeological Laboratory Methods: Analysis and Interpretation

Semester 1, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Archaeological Lab Methods
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities & Communication
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090303 - Anthropology
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Bryce Barker


Pre-requisite: ANT1000


The archaeological record consists of the material remains of human activity in the past. In order to extract data from the archaeological record, the cultural material retrieved through excavation needs to be sorted, identified, quantified and interpreted. This is achieved through a range of laboratory methods, which are essential skills for students in archaeology as part of their professional and academic practice.


This course teaches archaeology students how to analyse and interpret archaeological material addressing the major categories of cultural material encountered in Australian archaeological contexts ranging from stone artefact analysis, bone and shell identification and methods of quantification and interpretation. The course aims to provide a broad introduction to laboratory methods in archaeology.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. identify and critically examine methods of analysis in archaeology
  2. interpret behaviour from the material record
  3. identify and quantify a range of fauna commonly found in Australian archaeological sites.
  4. identify and quantify stone artefacts commonly found in Australian archaeological sites.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Shellfish: Species identification 15.00
2. Shellfish: Quantification 15.00
3. Lithics: General Principles 15.00
4. Lithics: Technological analysis and typology 15.00
5. Bone: The Australian Mammalian fauna 15.00
6. Bone: Analysis, Fish, Bird and other marine species 15.00
7. Quantification and interpretation of behaviour from the data. 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Carpenter, K & Volker, H (eds) 1998, The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 1: Seaweeds, Corals, Bivalves and Gastropods, Food and agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome.
Fillios, N & Blake, N 2015, Animal Bones in Australian Archaeology, Sydney University Press.
Holdaway, S & Stern, N 2004, A record in stone: the study of Australian flake stone artefacts, Canberrra Aboriginal Studies Press, Melbourne.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Clarkson, C & Lamb, L (eds) 2005, Lithics ‘down under’: Australian perspectives on lithic reduction, use and classification, British Archaeological Reviews, International Series, Archaeopress, Oxford.
Triggs, B 1996, Tracks, scats and other traces: a field guide to Australian mammals, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
Jansen, P. Australian Shells: an on-line identification guide for Australian shells.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 43.00
Private Study 122.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
PARTICIPATION 20 20 04 Mar 2019
WEEKLY QUIZZES 20 20 04 Mar 2019
ASSIGNMENT 30 30 31 May 2019
EXAMINATION 30 30 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This will be a closed exam. The total working time for the examination is 2 hours. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them, to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    CLOSED: Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into a closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. This guide can be found at

Other requirements

  1. Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at