Australian archaeology has been involved in a great enterprise over the last sixty years, uncovering the deep past of a desert continent and the history of its first people. This book is a guide to the catchphrases of the discipline. It is a meditation on science and place, culture and politics, deep time and the Dreaming – and it is steeped in an appreciation of good writing and a well-turned phrase. Woven in amongst these quotations is the story of how, as a nation, we are coming to terms with ancient Australia.
The entries are drawn from letters and journals, histories and poems, newspapers and novels. Each has been chosen because it is a pithy summation of an issue. Combined, they map the development of the field and encourage a dialogue between science and the humanities.