The Australian Archaeologist’s Book of Quotations is a veritable time-traveller’s guide for making sense of a continent, a nation, and its people. The editors, archaeologist Mike Smith and historian Billy Griffiths, have served up a smorgasbord of archaeological appetisers, with a feast of pithy insights into how Australians are coming to terms with ancient Australia.
If Smith’s Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts (2013) was his magnum opus, this carefully curated collection is an anthology of his greatest hits. Alongside giants of the field – Jones, Mulvaney, Bowler, and McBryde – are the words of Aboriginal people themselves, the likes of Pearl Gibbs, Big Bill Neidjie, Alice Kelly, and Marcia Langton, speaking for their people and their country. There are the old guard and the new; and some unusual suspects – Saatchi & Saatchi, Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, and Oscar Wilde. And there are those who have contributed greatly to Australian understandings of people and place, time and belonging, politics and history, such as W.E.H. Stanner, George Seddon, Greg Dening, Bernard Smith, and Tim Flannery.