Feature: Vere Gordon Childe

Date posted: 25 Sep 2012Author: STC

VereVere Gordon Childe was a remarkable man who is considered the father of modern archaeology. Here are some other biographical tidbits:

  • He was better known as V. Gordon Childe
  • He was born in Sydney in 1892 to an English family, and educated at first the University of Sydney then later at the University of Oxford
  • He was a passionate and vocal socialist, and his political views sometimes limited his access to academic work opportunities
  • He apparently had a penchant for wearing a red tie that was an outward indication of his political leanings
  • He also is reported to have enjoyed wearing very short shorts with socks, sock suspenders and large boots during warm weather
  • He travelled widely and spoke several European languages
  • He never married and was widely regarded as an eccentric
  • He loathed (and was not particularly skilled at) performing excavations, but was instead recognised for his superior ability to interpret evidence
  • His most famous excavation was of a Neolithic village in Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland from 1927 to 1930, which was the topic of one of his many books
  • He was Abercromby Professor of Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh from 1927 to 1946, co-founder and president of the Prehistoric Society and director of the Institute of Archeology from 1946 until his death
  • In 1957, he chose to end his life at the Grose Valley, at virtually the same point where Charles Darwin had stood almost a century earlier and realised that the Earth was a lot older than he had ever imagined
  • He is mentioned in the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Vere [Faith], 6 November - 7 December, 2013.