Together with the welcome insights they have brought to the matters at hand, the archaeological dialogues here engaged have certainly made me appreciate where my claims could be modified and my arguments amplified. Since I have already been taxed with a questionable insistence on setting the record straight, and with a penchant for academically coup de poing-ing my way through the archaeological establishment and its established historiography, I may as well persevere and thank the commentators for helping me grasp the following key point: what has been motivating a substantial part of my investigations, I can now better specify, is a growing unease with the well-established paradigm of ‘colonial vindication’. This is not, let me hasten to add, a reference to the genuine injustice done to those indigenous populations whose pasts have been expropriated and denigrated by the colonizing powers (i.e. Trigger's sense of ‘colonial archaeology’). Likewise, there is obviously no denying that the globalization of archaeology in the colonial and post-colonial eras has entailed considerable intellectual and institutional struggles, alongside innumerable power games, financial calculations and scientific compromises – and here Shepherd is surely right to give as example the ‘cradle of humanity’, a shifting zone whose ideological, diplomatic and economic potential Smuts had already fully sized in the 1930s (cf. Schlanger 2002b, 205–6). Rather, what I wish here to open to scrutiny is this apparently long-standing notion that South African archaeology has been systematically ‘done down’, ‘passed over’ and ‘badly used’ (Shepherd's terms) by the metropole – making it quite evident that its history, if not its ethos, should be primarily geared towards securing due recognition and redress.