Childe, Vere Gordon


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Childe, Vere Gordon,

1892–1957, British archaeologist, b. Australia. An Oxford graduate, he taught at the Univ. of Edinburgh (1927–46) and the Univ. of London (1946–56). He gained renown for his monumental synthesis of European prehistory, The Dawn of European Civilization (1925, 6th ed. 1957), and The Prehistory of European Society (1958). His studies in Asian archaeology led him to advance the concepts of the agricultural and urban revolutions in New Light on the Most Ancient East (1929, rev. ed. 1953). His interpretation of human history is put forth in two popular works, Man Makes Himself (1937, rev. ed. 1951) and What Happened in History (1942).

Childe, Vere Gordon

 

Born Apr. 14, 1892, in Sydney, Australia; died Oct. 19,1957. British archaeologist. Fellow of the British Academy (from 1940). Director of the Institute of Archaeology of the University of London (1946–56).

Childe conducted excavations in Scotland and Northern Ireland and on the Orkney Islands, at Skara Brae. His main works dealt with the prehistory of Europe and the East, in which, guided by the works of Soviet researchers, he proposed a materialistic basis for historical processes. He opposed the theory of migrationism, which explains changes in culture through migrations of peoples, advancing instead the theory of the independence of cultural development. Childe studied the origin and development of farming—the Neolithic revolution, the transition from the hunting and gathering economy of the Paleolithic to the producing economy of the Neolithic. Although he regarded the evolution of the economy as the primary factor in social progress, he reduced the problem of the rise of a state system to a question of the origin of cities (the urban revolution), not devoting proper attention to social relations.

Childe was accidentally killed in the mountains near Sydney.

WORKS

Prehistoric Communities of the British Isles. London, 1949.
Prehistoric Migrations in Europe. Oslo, 1950.
Social Evolution. London [1951].
In Russian translation:
Progress i arkheologiia. Moscow, 1949.
Uistokov evropeiskoi tsivilizatsii. Moscow, 1952.
Drevneishii Voslok v svete novykh raskopok. Moscow, 1956.

REFERENCE

Mongait, A. L. “G. Chaild.” Sovetskaia arkheologiia, 1958, no. 3.
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