Ruth A. Morgan reviews 'The Australian Archaeologist's Book of Quotations' edited by Mike Smith and Billy Griffiths

Ruth A. Morgan reviews 'The Australian Archaeologist's Book of Quotations' edited by Mike Smith and Billy Griffiths

The Australian Archaeologist's Book of Quotations

edited by Mike Smith and Billy Griffiths

Monash University Publishing, $24.95 pb, 175 pp, 9781922235749

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.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Ruth A. Morgan

Ruth A. Morgan

Ruth A. Morgan is a Lecturer at the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University.

Published in October 2015, no. 375

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.