The Moth Hunters

The Moth Hunters

by Josephine Flood
published 1980
Ligature untapped
genre History · Non-fiction

A landmark work documenting in detail the pre-history of the Australian Alps.

‘Dr Flood essays a total picture of Aboriginal communities and their use of and impact on terrain through time. ‘Pure’ archaeology is not enough. Archaeology plus the environmental sciences is not enough. Ethnohistory is not enough — for it is a view from the wrong side of the frontier. Only from an amalgam of archaeology, landscape sciences and documentary studies can a living portrait be moulded of any part of Australia and its people.’ So wrote Sylvia Hallam in the journal, Aboriginal History in 1982 in her review of The Moth Hunters.

Hallan also noted of Flood that: ‘She employed a great variety of skills — herself a climber, bushwalker, surveyor, photographer, field archaeologist, excavator, artefact assemblage analyst, statistician, and historian; and she marshalled and drew on the skills of others — amateur, student and professional archaeologists; geographers, zoologists, botanists; bush men, climbers, landowners. Her data range from field monuments, artefact scatters and excavated stratified sites; through stone tool assemblages, distributions and environmental resources; to early European descriptive accounts of Aborigines in a landscape.’ She concludes by stating the book to be ‘a most impressive and important piece of work.’ And so it has proven to be, over forty years from its first publication in 1980.

Josephine Flood AM is an archeologist, author and former director of the Aboriginal Heritage Section of the Australian Heritage Commission. Her works include The Moth Hunters (1980), Archeology of the Dreamtime (1983) and The Riches of Ancient Australia (1993). Her most recent book is the revised edition of The Original Australians (2019).