M.I.A. Library

Vere Gordon Childe


Vere Gordon Childe


Born in Sydney, Vere Gordon Childe (1892-1957) became one of the greatest archaeologists of his day (Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Edinburgh University, 1927-46 and Professor of European archaeology at the University of London, 1946-56), but from 1916-19 Childe was involved in the labour movement and from 1919-21 he was private secretary to the NSW Australian Labor Party leader John Storey. He was initially influenced politically by GDH Cole, and later became a Marxist. From his 1930 work, The Bronze Age, onward, Marxism informs his approach to archaeology and the study of history. He returned to Australia in 1957 and died soon after in a fall near Govett's Leap in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. He had written shortly before that his life's work was complete, and in a letter to a colleague, WF Grimes, which he requested not be opened until 1968, he said that he intended to take his own life: “Life ends best when it is happy and strong.”


1923 How Labor Governs
1930 The Bronze Age
1944 The story of tools
1942 The Significance of Soviet Archæology, Labour Monthly
1949 Magic, craftsmanship and science