School of Social Sciences

Facilities & Funding

Further information

Facilities and Funding


The discipline of Archaeology has three dedicated laboratory spaces: the Research Laboratory, the Teaching Laboratory and the Claremont Storage and Primary Analysis facility. A dedicated Laboratory Manager is tasked with the operation and maintenance of these laboratories.

The Archaeology Research Laboratory hosts a range of research projects conducted by academic staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students, as well as being used as a teaching resource for students at all levels. The lab is the engine room of the discipline of archaeology, where material recovered during fieldwork, such as artefact assemblages, are identified, accessioned and analysed, and is crucial to the success of much of the work conducted in the department. From 2012-2013 the lab was used to analyse material collected on 37 different projects. These included eight honours level and seven post-graduate level projects, undergraduate teaching, and a number of other projects funded from a range of disparate sources. Built in 2009, the Research Laboratory features dirty and clean work areas, a fume hood, c.40 m2 of bench space, interim storage areas, and a microscope bench. The microscopes include an Olympus BH2-UMA metallurgical microscope, a Leica M205C microscope, both connected to a computer monitor and imaging software. The lab also has seven stereoscopic x90 magnification microscopes.

The Teaching Laboratory is the discipline's specialised practical teaching space in the centre of the archaeology offices. It is primarily used for undergraduate and post-graduate teaching, workshops and practical sessions. Undergoing refurbishment in 2014, it will include lab benches, internet connections, and audiovisual equipment.  

The Research and Teaching laboratory’s house computers run both Windows and Apple operating systems, and software including MS Office suite, Adobe CS5 suite, the GIS programs Map Info and ARCGIS, and dedicated statistical analysis software.

The discipline also maintains a Storage and Primary Analysis Facility at the UWA Claremont Campus. This facility is used for the storage of collected material, and primary sorting and accessioning of assemblages prior to fine detail work being conducted in the Research Laboratory.

As a leading research institution, UWA also has numerous other state of the art laboratories across its campuses. Archaeology students wishing to access specific equipment for analysis can do so through UWA departments such as Physics, Forensics, Chemistry, Zoology, Geography, Plant Sciences and Biology, which all maintain labs with specific resources accessible to archaeology students. For example, for a modest annual subscription all UWA staff and research students have access to advanced microscopy at the Centre for Microscopy and Micro-Analysis, a key node on several national microscopy networks. 

Plant Sciences at UWA houses a Plasma-AMS Oxidation Pretreatment Unit for processing very small charcoal samples. This pre-processing equipment funded by Archae-Aus Pty Ltd greatly extends the range of archaeological materials that can be radiocarbon-dated.

Field equipment

The Archaeology discipline maintains a wide range of field equipment, including excavation tools, sieves, Total Stations, Toughbook computers, dumpy levels, GPS units, digital cameras, radio handsets, and camping gear. High quality photographic equipment is available through CRARM. More specialised field equipment purchased for on-going projects may be available from time to time. Field consumables such as sample bags, storage crates, survey pegs, flagging tape, notebooks and stationery are available - users are asked to fund replacements. This equipment is available on application to the Archaeology Laboratory Manager. If you wish to borrow equipment, be aware that at certain times of year there is high demand and applications will be prioritised - first in, best dressed.

Reference collections

The Archaeology Research Laboratory is the home of the UWA archaeobotanical reference collection, comprising wood charcoal species from across Western Australia and selected locations in the Western Pacific. The Research Laboratory also contains a standardised stone artefact reference collection and geological samples to assist in rock identification. Comparative collections of historical artefacts and animal skeletons to assist in historical and faunal remains analyses are housed in an archaeology store room near the laboratory and may be used as required. The Research Laboratory also includes reference texts, identification guides, a selection of journal issues, all theses and reports produced through the department over the years and a map collection.


Archaeology staff are eligible to apply for Australian Research Council Discovery and Linkage Projects, and staff have received in excess of $5m in current funding. Staff and postgraduate students have also been funded by major resources companies, Inspiring Australia, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and research partners such as government agencies, community groups, and the National Trust (WA). Some of these external funding programmes are no longer current and researchers are encouraged to seek alternatives from their own networks.

Postgraduate research students may apply to the School for up to $4000 for travel costs over the life of their degree. Honours students are eligible to apply for research support from the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. Based on academic achievement one UWA Honours student each year is eligible for the Gavin Jackson Cultural Resource Management Honours Scholarship in Indigenous Archaeology.

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