Courses & Units

Convict Archaeology Field School HTA382



This unit is being delivered as a two-week field school, commencing 18 January 2020 (onsite), concluding 1 February 2020.

All students will be required to have a current tetanus vaccination (last five years) and be fit enough to engage in fieldwork on remote location.

In addition to the unit tuition fee an additional field school fee of AUD$1,200 will apply.

Self-enrolment has been disabled. Please note, this unit does have a quota.

This unit is available for enrolment through the College of Arts, Law and Education online registration process:

Website: Convict Archaeology Field School

Contact: / +61 3 6226 2255


Archaeology reveals a unique vision of our convict past. This unit explores the relics of Tasmanian convicts deposited by those 76,000 men, women and children transported as British felons over the 19th century. As part of this course, you will participate in an archaeological dig at Picton Station – an 1830s Tasmanian penal quadrangle located in the South Midlands.

In addition to learning the latest methods for excavating historic convict sites, you will work with TMAG and Port Arthur Historic Site to learn current field and museum techniques to stabilise, catalogue, and exhibit these artefacts as a unique public heritage resource. Finally, our student group will collectively design and host a local museum exhibition of our project discoveries as a Public Day Event to share our discoveries with the wider Tasmanian public and state media.


Unit name Convict Archaeology Field School
Unit code HTA382
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Humanities
Discipline History and Classics

Professor Eleanor Casella

Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Summer school Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Summer school 2/1/2020 13/1/2020 28/1/2020 23/2/2020

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2020 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2020 will be available from the 1st October 2020.

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. A nuanced understanding of archaeological evidence for the convict experience and systems of punishment and reformation within which the wider Australian convict system operated.
  2. Advanced knowledge of the skills and latest techniques for excavating convict heritage sites with specific references to best practice for site-based fieldwork, illustration methods, digital recording, and artefact management.
  3. A sophisticated appreciation of the methods used to clean, catalogue, store and exhibit historic resources in accordance with international Museum and World Heritage standards.
  4. Extensive experience with group design and hosting of a local exhibition of 2020 project discoveries for the wider Tasmanian public, in addition to social, print, and broadcast media.



Band CSP Student Contribution Field of Education
1 2019: $820.00 090307

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.



25cp at Introductory level in any discipline.


Teaching Pattern

This unit is being delivered as a field school, with onsite attendance mandatory to successfully complete the unit.


Log Book: (30%): a 1-page daily pro forma detailing excavation and object curatorial practices (1,500 words maximum);

Project Exhibition (30%): groupwork project to design and host the project public exhibition based on field/lab results of the 2020 project season;

Essay 2,500 words: “How did Archaeology add to our knowledge of Convict Australia?” (40%).

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable


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The University reserves the right to amend or remove courses and unit availabilities, as appropriate.