Long History, Deep Time

Long History, Deep Time

Deepening Histories of Place

Edited by: Ann McGrath orcid, Mary Anne Jebb

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The vast shape-shifting continent of Australia enables us to take a long view of history. We consider ways to cross the great divide between the deep past and the present. Australia’s human past is not a short past, so we need to enlarge the scale and scope of history beyond 1788. In ways not so distant, these deeper times happened in the same places where we walk today. Yet, they were not the same places, having different surfaces, ecologies and peoples. Contributors to this volume show how the earth and its past peoples can wake us up to a sense of place as history – as a site of both change and continuity.

This book ignites the possibilities of what the spaces and expanses of history might be. Its authors reflect upon the need for appropriate, feasible timescales for history, pointing out some of the obstacles encountered in earlier efforts to slice human time into thematic categories. Time and history are considered from the perspective of physics, archaeology, literature, western and Indigenous philosophy. Ultimately, this collection argues for imaginative new approaches to collaborative histories of deep time that are better suited to the challenges of the Anthropocene. Contributors to this volume, including many leading figures in their respective disciplines, consider history’s temporality, and ask how history might expand to accommodate a chronology of deep time. Long histories that incorporate humanities, science and Indigenous knowledge may produce deeper meanings of the worlds in which we live.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Aug 2015
ANU Press
Aboriginal History Monographs
Aboriginal History
Arts & Humanities: Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, Philosophy & Religion; Science: Other; Social Sciences: Anthropology, Indigenous Studies

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Long History, Deep Time »

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  1. Deep Histories in Time, or Crossing the Great Divide? (PDF, 246KB) – Ann McGrath doi
  2. Tjukurpa Time (PDF, 101KB) – Diana James doi
  3. Contemporary Concepts of Time in Western Science and Philosophy (PDF, 111KB) – Peter J. Riggs doi
  4. The Mutability of Time and Space as a Means of Healing History in an Australian Aboriginal Community (PDF, 404KB) – Rob Paton doi
  5. Arnhem Land to Adelaide (PDF, 569KB) – Karen Hughes doi
  6. Categories of ‘Old’ and ‘New’ in Western Arnhem Land Bark Painting (PDF, 445KB) – Luke Taylor doi
  7. Dispossession is a Legitimate Experience (PDF, 99KB) – Peter Read doi
  8. Lingering Inheritance (PDF, 109KB) – Julia Torpey Hurst doi
  9. Historyless People (PDF, 89KB) – Jeanine Leane doi
  10. Panara (PDF, 77KB) – Bruce Pascoe doi
  11. The Past in the Present? (PDF, 375KB) – Harry Allen doi
  12. Lives and Lines (PDF, 277KB) – Martin Porr doi
  13. The Archaeology of the Willandra (PDF, 757KB) – Nicola Stern doi
  14. Collaborative Histories of the Willandra Lakes (PDF, 89KB) – Malcolm Allbrook and Ann McGrath doi

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