Australian Aboriginal agriculture?

Watching a very poignant interview with Bruce Pascoe, an indigenous Australian writer, alerted me to the fact that his most recent book, Dark Emu, which was out last year, is apparently a reconsideration of whether Aboriginal peoples were in fact solely hunter-gatherers. That is what the conventional wisdom holds, or at least held, the last time I checked. I clearly haven’t checked in a while.

Hunter-gatherer societies forage and hunt for food and do not employ agricultural methods or build permanent dwellings… But as I read these early journals, I came across repeated references to people building dams and wells, planting, irrigating and harvesting seed, preserving the surplus and storing it in houses, sheds or secure vessels…and manipulating the landscape.

I’ve only been able to find one academic review of the book online. Is it being ignored by the establishment?

2 Replies to “Australian Aboriginal agriculture?”

  1. The late David Rhindos was very keen on the idea of Australian Aboriginal Agriculture. I think that he mentioned the casual spreading of useful plants such as Quandongs. The use of fire certainly is a husbandry tool, as it encourages pasture for game. Fish traps built from stones are well known permanent structures that can still seen in some places.

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