University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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

Archaeology provides a vivid understanding of how the past informs our present through its focus on material remains of the human past. Its methods range from scientific analysis of artefacts and landscapes to interpretation of ancient art and written documents and beyond.

The University of Sydney has Australia's oldest Department of Archaeology and offers the widest program of teaching and research. Staff conduct fieldwork in Australia, Oceania, East and Southeast Asia (Angkor in Cambodia), China, Central Asia, Western Asia (Iran, Jordan) and the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Greece, Italy). Our teaching program reflects these regional interests.

The department has its own well-equipped laboratory to support teaching of artefact-analysis and fieldwork methods. Students may also access the resources of Australia's oldest and largest archaeological collection at the Nicholson Museum. The department has links with the Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis (ACMM) for teaching scientific methods and the Archaeological Computing Laboratory for digital methods, including geographic information systems (GIS) and other computing applications.

Before beginning their major in Archaeology students normally complete 12 junior credit points by taking ARCA1001 and ARCA1002 which respectively introduce students to important civilisations of the ancient world, and to archaeological methods and theory.

Students interested in Classical and/or Near Eastern Archaeology can gain entry to relevant senior level units by taking either ARCA1001 or ARCA1002 combined with 6 junior credit points of Ancient History, or Classical Studies.

A wide range of senior level units are offered. These are regionally based and/or structured around themes in archaeological method, theory and practice. Some units include hands-on practical work components. For units from other departments that may count towards an Archaeology major please check the cross-listing schedule on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences website.

The department offers a single honours program in Archaeology while letting students specialise in the subject area of their choice, including Heritage Studies. Honours entry requires a credit average in 48 senior credit points in Archaeology (including cross-listed units for students doing honours in Heritage Studies topics).

Students intending to enrol in Archaeology Honours should normally have obtained credit or better results in ARCA3601 or ARCA3605.

Further details of honours prerequisites are listed elsewhere in this handbook.

Exact prerequisites may be waived where a student is unable to meet exact requirements due to curriculum changes. All students with results of credit and above are encouraged to apply for honours.

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