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It's a grubby, reddish peanut — yet so wondrous that we crowd round. Ross strikes next. Then JP finds a 'spessy' of quartz shot through with gold. And before long I'm watching a small patch of ground being punched with holes and gold amassing in tiny increments. I'm astonished: it can't be this easy! Jonathan 'JP' Porter has 25 years' prospecting under his belt. He coaches me in 'swinging the coil': "Slowly, slowly," he says. Listen for a disturbance to the force…".

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His Jedi coaching works — indeed it's distinctly yogic. And then it comes.

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Gold — one, two, three nuggets — match heads, beads, buttons — seven, eight, nine…. That night I take Craggie for a drink in Charters Towers. The town is beautiful, not much changed from the s when over seven million oz of gold transformed a canvas shanty into a town with 35 pubs and a stock exchange.

Stubley blew all his money but the town is testament to the madness — a far-flung outpost embellished with towers, pediments and Greco-Roman pillars. I do a hard day's drive to reach the next 'X' on my treasure map, a place where opals are said to lie at your feet. But after miles, the country flattens into epic horizons that need a country and western soundtrack — and I discover there's a different prize waiting to be unearthed…. A small museum houses the skeleton of a handsome iguanodon called a muttaburrasaurus, excavated from lands little altered since drifting from Gondwanaland.

I don't need telling twice.

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With directions ringing in my head, I find a dirt track signed 'No petrol for km' and locate three gum trees on a dry creek. They're belemnites, to be exact. Squids with skeletons. The delight from my discovery is probably nothing to that felt by the Wilson family in July when they stumbled on a one-metre jawbone of an ichthyosaur. The news went global: "I was completely stunned," a local academic was reported as saying.

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It only took the Wilson family a few hours. It was discovered in a public fossil prospecting site miles west in Richmond. Next morning I'm looking into the same quarry — 20 acres of biscuit-coloured rock gouged and scraped into heaps. Peter Stephan is from Townsville.

He's sat scratching at vertebrae, gills and fins, bringing them into sunny relief. Peter is utterly content beside his fossil in the hot sun, and delighted to help a newbie. There are lots of prehistoric shark's teeth around, but you might only see a tooth's tip, so take your time. And I'll loan you a better pick. I begin prising layers of soft sediment which open like the pages of a book, revealing gorgeous imprints of prehistory — scales, shells, worm casts.

We chat as we work. When I first came here, I found a kronosaur tooth in an hour…" Kronosaurus was the largest marine predator on the planet, its skull twice that of T-rex. After five hours of digging, I've got sunburn, a stiff back and a lot of new-found knowledge. Cretaceous period," Paul Nielsen is squinting through his geologist's eyepiece at the fossilised tooth given to me by Peter.

Paul is no geologist, he's the publican of Tattersalls Hotel in Winton.

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When I arrive, his pub is deep into a raucous outback night — big beers, big talk, big hats. But he knows about the biggest game in town. And that's apex dinosaurs. Next day I'm meant to be in the opal fields, but Paul insists on taking my sore head to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs. This astonishing museum is isolated high on an escarpment overlooking sunburnt country, and houses the world's largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils.

It was established by local grazier David Elliott who, in , chanced upon the nation's most significant cache of dinosaur bones. Within a low-lit, temperature-controlled theatre, I view the remains of a ton sauropod and its attacker, a raptor called australovenator. Alas, I have to push on to see another deposition from the Jurassic period — a highly unusual opal.

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Though ostensibly a town, the population of 20 is scattered through the thick bush in crude camps. I locate a leviathan ton truck parked outside a camp of sheds, fuel drums and a mobile home. Paul has told me to look up Daryl Bonham but I'm not sure it's a good idea. Daryl is surprised to be visited, but perfectly welcoming.

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Sep 15, Missy Staples added it. This book is excellent!!! There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Videos About This Book. More videos About C. Trivia About Lying Beneath the Medieval theologians often debated what the conditions of immortality before the Fall were, and how different the human body would have been: they questioned whether Adam and Eve defecated, whether Eve menstruated, or whether they had sexual intercourse free from the sin of lust. Similar debates surrounded Mary in the post-Lapsarian world, too.

The affinity between Eve and Mary consists of their opposition, but they are also close in conceptual difficulty and theological significance. The theology is not so concretely outlined between Mary and Eve: instead of a baptismal situation, their connection seems to rely on a less obvious affinity. This made a space for new interpretations and stories between the two in the Middle Ages.

In the first image, Eve has clearly been placed beneath Mary as an analogue to this well-known representation of the Crucifixion, showing that their connection was elevated to a theological level parallel to that of Adam and Christ. The Harrowing of Hell was a story which flourished in the Middle Ages, originally taken from the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. It was believed that Satan was given the rights over humankind as a whole when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and as such, Christ as a human was automatically claimed as a new inhabitant of Hell.

Therefore, Satan was forced to give up all rights to humankind, and the souls are shown here, being helped out of Hell by Christ.

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From this point onwards it was believed that human beings would at death go through Purgatory, where they may undergo hellish torments, but only temporarily, until their souls were purified enough for Heaven. In Marian devotional poetry, Mary is often shown to participate in the Harrowing of Hell, but more significantly, medieval theology constructed a role for her as the supreme intercessor: penitents could pray to her, and she would beg for forgiveness on their behalf to Christ.

In this image, Mary bares her breasts to Christ to remind him that he was once human and vulnerable, depending on her for nourishment, as are the penitents who now pray to Mary , depending on her spiritual nourishment of grace and forgiveness. Although this image is at Judgement Day, the end of the world where all souls would be judged directly by Christ, Mary was understood to act in a similar manner for souls undergoing torments in Purgatory, and those who were still alive who wished to be forgiven for their sins.

This belief provided a huge incentive for people to pray for their dead, and churches were often offered money by the wealthy to incorporate prayers for Purgatorial souls in their regular services.