Julia Blackburn
Radio Plays
and Stories
News and Events
Vintage Books

This is a personal book about a vast subject. I wanted to try to catch glimpses of the world before our present time, especially in this pocket of the world on the East Anglian coastline where I live.

When I began I knew almost nothing about prehistory, palaeontology, the last Ice Age and all the other subjects that I have now encountered. I am not an academic and I wrote the book by approaching each stage of the story with the help of people who knew a hundred -a thousand,-times more than me and who were happy to share their knowledge. I have been on the North Sea fishing for mammoth and other ancient bones from a Dutch mussel ship; I have pottered through the mud of the Severn Estuary looking for (and finding) the fossilised footsteps of humans, birds and animals from eight thousand years ago; I have searched but failed to find rhinoceros bones on the North Norfolk coast and recently picked up the femur of a female walrus, close to where I live in Suffolk. I have been talking to an anthropologist about the differences between our kind of humans and the hunter-gatherers who proceeded us, a people who lived so lightly on the earth for many thousands of years before we moved in.

I have always collected things that hold stories about the past, especially the very distant past: mammoth bones, little shells that happen to be two million years old, a flint shaped as a weapon long ago. Time Song brings many such stories together as it tells of the creation, the existence and the loss of a country now called Doggerland, a huge and fertile area that once connected the entire east coast of England with mainland Europe, until it was finally submerged by rising sea levels around 5000 BC.

I have mixed fragments from my own life with my attempts to understand something of the nature of Deep Time and the mystery of the enormous past that preceded our brief and precarious present moment . There is a series of eighteen Ďsongsí which chronicle subjects as diverse as carbon dating, the movement of the millennia and the world as it was seen through the eyes of the //xam bushmen of the Karoo region in Southern Africa. And there are all sorts of stories about the places and the people I meet as I try to get closer a vanished landscape and the people who once inhabited it.

Itís a difficult book to describe, but I think itís quite easy to read and the three years of writing it were an unexpected delight.

Thin Paths
Thomas Blackburn's Selected Poems
The Three of Us
My Animals and Other Family
With Billie
Old Man Goya
The Leper's Companions
The Book of Colour
Daisy Bates in
the Desert
The Emperor's
Last Island
Charles Waterton
The White Men
Murmurations of Love,
Grief and Starlings