They found her by a lake. She'd been burnt on a pyre and laid to rest more than 40,000 years ago. So by the time a geologist came across "Mungo Lady" - then the oldest human remains found outside of Africa and still likely the oldest known cremation - the Ice Age was long over and her lake had dried up.
But there were clues to millennia of rich history all around.
Aboriginal communities say Mungo Lady wasn't "discovered" in the 1960s: she surfaced for a reason.
On Wednesday, the Australian National University will launch a global research centre, bringing together scientists, archaeologists, Indigenous elders and historians, to uncover more of the world's "deep history".
The centre, a collaboration with Harvard University and Linnaeus University in Sweden, is being hailed as a world-first and will explore the pasts of native peoples from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to the Sami people of Scandinavia.
Director Ann McGrath said that Australia, as home to the world's oldest living civilisation, had a unique role to play in expanding history into territory often overlooked.
"Ancient history is still seen as Greeks, Romans and Egyptians and Aboriginal history is still [seen to] start with white colonisation," she said.
"Today, in the face of the climate emergency, we have to think about history differently.
"Deep history is like deep space. [Sometimes] astrophysicists say they can see the past happening. Well, we need to adjust our scale too."
To the Yawuru people of Broome, there's a word for it already - "Buru".
"It means time and space together," Professor McGrath said.
"If you've lived on country, there's no distance, no matter how far back. The people near Lake Mungo talk about Lady Mungo like she's an Aunty who's only just died."
While Professor McGrath said traditional evidence such as texts and paintings was harder to find up to 65,000 years down the line, she stressed stories shared across the generations by Aboriginal communities still offered their own truth - and were often reflected in the science.
In Cairns, for example, researchers testing seeds confirmed legends that the well-known rainforest of Fitzroy Island was once savanna.
"The world looked different back then," she said.
"The Great Barrier Reef was still being formed, there was super-fauna [prowling] Australia, they witnessed all these great changes. We didn't think we'd be looking at dinosaurs [as historians] but they have stories about giant emus and even the rumblings of old volcanoes."
Professor McGrath said historians "obsessed by dates" hadn't drawn on ancient narrative much before as a source and some remained sceptical.
"But then some people say even European history has a narrative line," she said. "There's clues in our past further back, a lot of top evolutionary biologists and those studying human migration around the world are now starting to look to Australia.
"The past wasn't just a timeless blob back then. They had a history in the Ice Age and earlier."
A digital memory atlas would help track ancient stories alongside the work of scholars, scientists, linguists and archaeologists, she said, while mentorship would be offered to Indigenous academics with a focus on empowering women.
ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt, an astrophysicist himself, said the new centre would be of national benefit, enhancing Australia's place in global historical research.
"Our humanity reaches back further than written records - more than 200,000 years," he said.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Ngambri-Ngunnawal elder Matilda House ran her hands over a three-metre Aboriginal ground map installed in the ANU's new Kambri precinct.
"It tells the story of how we moved across the land," she said.
She said her own first memories of Canberra were of making camp with her grandfather, opposite "the boy's school in Red hill" in the 1940s.
"I was only three or four at the time," she said. "We'd lead the horses to drink from the river.
"It's really wonderful being here at the ANU. Giving lectures, [working] with the students."