Deep History of Two Australian Aboriginal Groups, Quantum Entanglement of Spacetime, and a Series of Fortunate Events

Photo by Ondrej Machart on Unsplash

The ancient history of Aboriginal Australia is mostly presented as a linear narrative by archaeologists with scientific evidence seen as the go-to dependable source. Indigenous perspectives of their deep past have usually been marginalised in this story or offered as a colourful backdrop to the main event. Recent advances in the young discipline "Deep History" seek to intervene and address this problem from a wide variety of perspectives, articulated in the recent book Everywhen: Australia and the language of deep history. This research flows from this work, offering a new perspective, that of a field archaeologist who has worked alongside Aboriginal communities for over four decades. Examining two case studies (one from Mudburra country in the Northern Territory and the other from Western Wakka Wakka country in southeast Queensland) I look at how Aboriginal views of time and objects can be conjoined in a meaningful way with hard archaeological science to visualise a past that is richer, more powerful and inclusive.

Rob Paton is an archaeologist with over four decades experience. He has taught archaeology at the ANU and other universities. He has been an Executive Board Member for the journal Aboriginal History since 1993. His publications include numerous journal articles, book chapters and edited volumes. Throughout his career Rob has worked extensively with many Indigenous communities. He has maintained ongoing deep connections with many of these communities over several decades. His most recent research, although on the cutting edge of hard science, seeks as one of its prime goals to address the problem of marginalisation of Indigenous perspectives in narrating the deep past.

Please note that the School of History seminars will run in-person only this semester.

Date & time

Wed 16 Aug 2023, 4.15–5.30pm


RSSS Auditorium, Ground Floor (Level 1), RSSS Building, ANU, 146 Ellery Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601


Robert Paton


School of History


David Romney Smith


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