The recent publication of Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe's book, Farmers Or Hunter-gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate, probably marks a major turning point in the debate going on in Australia since the publication in 2014 of Bruce Pascoe's book, Dark Emu. With all their erudition and authority, these two colleagues have drawn up an implacable charge against the distortions, omissions or outright falsifications that underpin the thesis of Aborigines allegedly cultivating or even herding.
I do not withhold some disagreement with certain aspects of the book, in particular its rejection of any notion akin to social evolution or the idea that agriculture constituted progress; but these discussions belong to what could be pompously called the philosophy of history. On a strictly factual level, the book is a reference and a rock that reminds us that a spade is a spade, that the prerequisite of any discussion - and of any real emancipatory will - is not to distort reality.
Sutton and Walshe's reply has only been published for a few weeks, but it seems to have already caused a stir, with several journalists being led, with commendable honesty, to swallow their hats and admit publicly that they had, to put it succinctly, been taken in for the right cause - or for what they thought was one (for example, the very famous Ian Warden.