How much of what became the folk tales of our ancestors was rooted in scientifically verifiable fact, and what can they tell us about the future?
A surprising, well-supported perspective on Earth's distant past. - Kirkus How much of what became the folk tales of our ancestors was rooted in scientifically verifiable fact, and what can they tell us about the future? In The Edge of Memory, Patrick Nunn explores the science in folk history. He looks at ancient tales and traditions that may be rooted in scientifically verifiable fact, and can be explored via geological evidence, such as the Biblical Flood. Take Australian folklore, for instance. People arrived in Australia more than 60,000 years ago, and the need to survive led to the development of knowledge that was captured orally in stories passed down through the generations. These stories conveyed both practical information and recorded history, and they frequently made reference to a coastline that was very different to the one we recognize today. In at least 21 different communities along the fringe of Australia, flood stories were recorded by European anthropologists, missionaries, and others. They described a lost landscape that is now under as much as 100 feet of ocean. And these folk traditions are backed up by hard science. Geologists are now starting to corroborate the tales through study of climatic data, sediments and land forms; the evidence was there in the stories, but until recently, nobody was listening. The Edge of Memory is an important book that explores the wider implications for our knowledge of how human society has developed through the millennia.