As expected, Adam Smith has written a provocative, intellectually stimulating and demanding article critiquing the re-inscription of ‘an essential archaeological subject’ as archaeology becomes more explicitly aware of its inevitable political dimensions. I find myself in broad, though not perfect, agreement with his overall argument and concur completely with his concluding sentiments that archaeologists should become ‘analysts of the naturalizers rather than analytical naturalizers’ and that they should expose the strategic practices at play in the assertion of all such essentialist claims, past and present. My concern is that his prescription for achieving this result may be too mild (i.e. indirect and subtle, if not opaque) to cure the ills of the nationalists who habitually distort archaeological evidence to achieve their often dubious political agendas. In a certain sense, his laudable insistence on focusing on change and the plasticity of markers of identity in relation to specific and always shifting sociopolitical contexts eviscerates the political nature of archaeological enquiry. His recommendation is to go back to interpreting the past on its own terms, void of ‘essential subjects’. All right, but not many people will listen and those interested in using the past for contemporary purposes will not be directly confronted. As critical ‘analysts of the naturalizers’ we perform an essentially negative, though indispensable, role; we point out why the accounts of the naturalizers are ambiguous, distort the record, are untenable and dangerous, and so on. This admittedly negative role is extremely important and should not now be abandoned after so many years of denying it or not recognizing it. It is necessary to add that there is also a positive political approach for interpreting archaeological evidence that Childe (1933) long ago recognized: demonstrate the continuous intercourse and diffusion of ideas and technologies from one culture and people to another throughout prehistoric times and insist that no single group was responsible for this constantly growing and shared history of cultural development.