“Neither Bombs nor Butter” – V. Gordon Childe and the Life Archaeological

Michael Lever, ALA Project Archaeologist recently gave an interesting talk on Gordon Childe at the Melbourne Museum to the Anthropological and Archaeological Society of Victoria.

There would be few archaeologists who did not know something of Childe’s contribution to their discipline. Yet recognition of the scale of this contribution and the unique character of the man behind them, seems strangely lacking in a country such as Australia – generally so eager to claim ‘ownership’ of those Australians who succeed overseas.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no memorials, chairs, facilities or any other form of commemoration of Childe’s work in any university or public institution of any kind in Australia. This seems a strange oversight of a scholar who published over 27 books (not including multiple revised editions) each of which had a major impact on the understanding of material culture and of theoretical interpretations of the human past. Insight into Childe, the man and his work, provides a fascinating window into the workings of Australian and global academe in the past.

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