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Rob Paton’s research centres on the Top End of the Northern Territory (Plate 1). Rob is looking at the deep history of Aboriginal communication networks in this area (Plate 2).  By looking at the exchange of items such as stone knives (Plate 3), ochre (Plate 4) and boomerangs (Plate 5) which have been traded for thousands of years he is humanising the deep past (Plate 6). His work shows that present exchange networks stretch out across vast landscapes which are seen as “culturally barren” by historians and archaeologists. These exchange networks operate in the shadow of complex social events such as initiation ceremonies and sorry business (Plates 7 and 8). Using archaeological evidence (Plate 9), film, archival sources and oral interviews (Plate 10) he is able to give a rich human element to the deep past that is often referred to by the sweeping and  dehumanising term “prehistory”.

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