When the water was sand, we left a handful of shiny flakes to say: we had been. You dig, dust off, date – and we are still being.

A new excavation of the Madjedbebe rock shelter in Australia’s Arnhem Land has revealed evidence that humans first arrived in Australia 65,000 years ago. This excavation was conducted under a landmark agreement that gave the Mirarr people rights to veto work at any time, control artefacts discovered, and have final say about the announced findings. Mary Alexandra Agner casts a unique perspective on this discovery – the past is here and now. Yet, even as we examine their ancestral sites with new respect… we have to ask when the world’s First Peoples will be granted the same? // Alex Massey

//Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets. She can be found online at http://www.pantoum.org//

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