Archaeology Field School

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Archaeology Field School

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Archaeology, Field Component

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Prerequisite: ARCA1000

    Recommended Prerequisite: ARCA1001 or ARCS1001

    This course requires additional faculty approval for entry.

    *This course has a field trip component. Additional fees, paid directly to the university, may apply.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course is a residential field school teaching practical core archaeological skills (survey, excavation, and artefact analysis) through participation in an authentic research setting. The field school is followed by a period of lectures and desktop research which contribute to students' field reports. Students will learn how field research is structured and implemented in archaeological research and cultural heritage management. Field locations will vary each year.
    This course will have limited student enrolments. Preference is given to students who have completed ARCA1000 and ARCA/ARCS1001. Preference is also given to students enrolled in the extended archaeology major.
    Course Introduction
    ARCS2060 is designed to provide archaeological field experience and field training in an authentic research setting. The course is divided into two components: 1) A fieldwork component that takes place on a genuine archaeological landscape in southeast Queensland; and 2) Coursework that takes place over two weeks at the St. Lucia Campus, UQ. Each component teaches a specific set of skills, with the end result designed to be an overview of archaeological fieldwork from setup to finalisation and reporting.
    During the field component, skills will be learned in survey, excavation, and field processing of recovered materials. Emphasis will be placed on how to evaluate real problems and make informed decisions that will guide the fieldwork from day to day. Students will be taught practical skills in field observations, recording techniques, and data acquisition. They will learn the background to the sites under investigation and how to focus fieldwork so that it meets project objectives. In addition to these practical skills, they will be exposed to the day-to-day management issues that lie behind successful field projects: collaborative team effort and community liaison. They will learn to balance foresight with flexibility in an authentic field environment where unpredictable external factors (e.g. weather, equipment, fortuitous discoveries) can influence daily outcomes. During the follow-up coursework students will learn the value of their in-field observations with a field notebook, and they will learn to report these observations in ways that are standard in professional archaeological work.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1. GENERAL
    • 1.1 Contextualise fieldwork within the general research framework.
    2. SURVEY
    • 2.1 Identify and justify new localities of archaeological interest.
    • 2.2 Effectively record and sample surface sites, including photography and mapping.
    • 2.3 Know how to use specialised equipment such as hand-held GPS and total station.
    • 2.4 Know how to organise time and resources to meet set survey targets.
    • 3.1 Know how to set up an open-air site and what contingencies to consider.
    • 3.2 Effectively excavate and record stratigraphy, plotted finds, and samples.
    • 3.3 Know how to map, screen, and undertake on-site tasks related to excavation.
    • 3.4 Know how to organise time and resources to meet set excavation targets.
    • 4.1 Understand how decisions made in the field translate to the laboratory.
    • 4.2 Process artefacts and samples in preparation for curation and/or analysis.
    • 4.3 Record and analyse artefacts (glass, ceramic, metal etc) using standard techniques
    • 5.1 Keep a field notebook and extract information from it for reporting purposes.
    • 5.2 Report results of fieldwork.
    • 5.3 Contextualise reporting of field activities within a larger research agenda.
    Class Contact
    3 Contact hours

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.