This exploratory article is so open to misinterpretation that I must be crazy to want to publish it, but I hope it hints, however dimly, at some interesting ideas about culture and heritage. Culture and heritage are potentially wonderful resources that we can play with and develop; but often they seem to be bound around us like shackles, or thrust between us like walls.

It is a commonplace of public conversation in Australia that Aboriginal people have more than 40,000 years of cultural heritage (currently the oldest dated Aboriginal sites go back 65,000 years). But so do we all: every human being has a cultural heritage that goes back into the mists of prehistory. What is the special feature of the Aboriginal cultural heritage that makes references to its antiquity so compelling?

Read on …

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