Where the Ancestors Walked

Australia as an Aboriginal Landscape

Philip Clarke
AUD $35.00
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Explores the traditional lifestyle of Australia's Aboriginal people - one of the world's oldest continuous cultures.

'Philip Clarke has penned an insightful and wide-ranging account of Australia's Aboriginal cultures from a perspective of great learning and insider privilege. It's an immensely significant work, revealing the extraordinary richness of one of the world's oldest continuous cultures.'

Tim Flannery, author of The Future Eaters

Since their arrival many thousands of years ago, Australia's Aboriginal people have developed a unique, rich and elaborate way of life. With a deep spiritual attachment to land and a strong sense of community, they have drawn on tradition to respond to new situations. In this way, they have thrived in Australia's changing and often harsh landscape.

Early European settlers in Australia judged Aboriginal culture as 'primitive'. Yet the Aboriginal people they encountered had, in fact, a highly sophisticated understanding of their environment and complex strategies for finding food and medicines, and for making tools and art objects.

Philip Clarke paints a picture of the culture and traditions of Aboriginal Australia. Drawing on research from anthropology, cultural geography and environmental studies as well as his own fieldwork, he explains the diverse ways in which Aboriginal people relate to the land across the continent. Heavily illustrated, Where the Ancestors Walked will appeal to anyone interested in understanding the traditional lifestyle of Aboriginal people.

'Phillip Clarke's clear, wide-ranging and sympathetic survey describes the manner in which Indigenous societies humanised and utilised landscapes from before European times to the present. This is an excellent introduction for interested lay readers and higher and tertiary education students.'

Emeritus Professor John Mulvaney, author of Prehistory of Australia

Author bio:

Philip Clarke is Head of Anthropology and Manager of Sciences at the South Australian Museum.

Category: Cultural studies
ISBN: 9781741140705
Table Of Contents: Preface



1. Early human colonisation

A changing planet. Bridging the gap. Occupying 'new' land. Human impact on the landscape.

2. Religious landscapes

The Dreaming. Sacred sites. The Skyworld and Underworld.

3. Kinship and family life

Knowing your kin. Gender and taboos. Play and games. Rites of passage.

4. Mapping people

Tribes and clans. Travelling ceremonies. Languages. Layering of identity.


5. The hunting and gathering mode

Food and water quest. Medicines and narcotics. Resource management.

6. The toolmaker

Stone and bone as tools. Holding it together. Retooling.

7. The gatherer's toolkit

Gathering implements. Clothing. Domestic life.

8. Weapons and hunting implements

Weapons. Hunting and fishing. Watercraft.

9. Art and the music of the Dreaming

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: September 2003
Page Extent: 296
Format: Paperback - C format
Age: 0 - 0
Subject: Indigenous peoples