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‘Deep Time Dreaming’ shortlisted for 2019 Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction

 

Historian Billy Griffiths’ exploration of Australia’s archaeological history has been shortlisted for the State Library of NSW’s prestigious non-fiction award.


 

Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia’ follows the journeys of a number of Australia’s archaeological pioneers and charts the development of the field of Aboriginal archaeology, and the shifting cultural and political climate in which it has emerged.

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Written by Dr Billy Griffiths, the book has been acclaimed by Australian historians and archaeologists alike for contributing to a new understanding of Australia’s ancient past and an enlarged “historical imagination”.

The Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction is one of eleven award categories in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and part of the State Library of NSW’s vibrant awards program.

Established to commemorate the lifetime achievement of Douglas Alexander Stewart (1913-1985), poet, essayist and literary critic, the Douglas Stewart Prize is for prose work other than a work of fiction “including biographies, autobiographies and works of history, philosophy and literary criticism that display literary qualities.”

“’Deep Time Dreaming’ is a history of the people and places that have shaped our understanding of ancient Australia,” Mr Griffiths said.

“’Deep Time Dreaming’ is a history of the people and places that have shaped our understanding of ancient Australia.”  Image: Mette Kortelainen.

“’Deep Time Dreaming’ is a history of the people and places that have shaped our understanding of ancient Australia.”

Image: Mette Kortelainen.

“It is also the story of Aboriginal leaders and their fight to be involved in decisions about their land and their heritage.

“As a historian, I have always been keenly aware of the limitations of documents, which only go back a few centuries on this continent. But this is not where Australian history began. We now know that this country’s Indigenous history extends over 60,000 years.

“Perhaps a billion people have called this continent home. They thrived in the extreme aridity of the central deserts and hunted in the glacier-filled gorges extending from the Tasmanian ice cap. They watched lakes dry, volcanoes erupt, dune fields form and the sea level rise by 125 metres. Theirs is a remarkable story of transformation and resilience.”

“Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia” is published by Black Inc. Books.