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People would have known about Australia before they saw it. Smoke billowing above the sea spoke of a land that lay beyond the horizon. A dense cloud of migrating birds may have pointed the way. But the first Australians were voyaging into the unknown.

Soon after Billy Griffiths joins his first archaeological dig as camp manager and cook, he is hooked. Equipped with a historian’s inquiring mind, he embarks on a journey through time, seeking to understand the extraordinary deep history of the Australian continent.

Deep Time Dreaming is the passionate product of that journey. It investigates a twin revolution: the reassertion of Aboriginal identity in the second half of the twentieth century, and the uncovering of the traces of ancient Australia. It explores what it means to live in a place of great antiquity, with its complex questions of ownership and belonging. It is about a slow shift in national consciousness: the deep time dreaming that has changed the way many of us relate to this continent and its enduring, dynamic human history.

‘The freshest, most important book about our past in years.’ Tim Flannery

‘Once every generation a book comes along that marks the emergence of a powerful new literary voice and shifts our understanding of the nation’s past. Deep Time Dreaming is one such book. Read it: it will change the way you see Australian history.’ Mark McKenna

‘A remarkable book, and one destined, I believe, to become a modern classic of Australian history-writing.’ Iain McCalman

‘Rich and absorbing, at times spellbinding.’ Grace Karskens

‘A brilliant and reflective history of Australian archaeology.’ Mike Smith

Billy Griffiths is the author of The China Breakthrough and co-editor with Mike Smith of The Australian Archaeologist’s Book of Quotations. He is a research fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation.