Deep time scholars such as Jared Diamond and Steven Mithen place the birth of history at 50,000 years ago. ‘Or thereabouts.’ This is the time of Diamond’s so-called Great Leap Forward, the moment humans went from being a species no more exceptional than ‘beavers, bower-birds, and army ants’ to becoming ‘the first species, in the history of life on Earth, capable of destroying all life’. There was no stark anatomical change to mark this shift; rather, it is suggested, this was an inner event – a revolution within the mind. Why did this happen then? Was it colonisation of the ‘new’ lands that sparked the change? Was it the development of the modern voice box? Or indeed is this idea of an inner event a misnomer, a ‘coming of age’ invented by Eurocentric minds obsessed by revolution? This paper explores the ways in which the field of Australian archaeology repeatedly challenged global understandings of human evolution in the late twentieth century. It unpacks the archaeological discoveries, technological innovations and social movements that underpinned these debates, and examines the ways in which scientific ideas about the deep past have reemerged in
contemporary Indigenous politics. It argues that in Australia, perhaps more than anywhere else, the deep past is never far from the political present.
This is an abstract that was submitted to the 2018 4S Annual Conference held in Sydney, by Australia Billy Griffiths by Deakin University. It was presented in the session titled "Decolonising the Deep Past: Archaeological Narratives, Human Origins, and Indigeneity."
The abstract was selected as it holds a key topic of interest to the contributor's research. Specifically due it's material and archeological criticism of western ideas of human learning, dominate and intelligence.
This is an abstract that was submitted to the 2018 4S Annual Conference held in Sydney, by Australia Billy Griffiths by Deakin University.