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The Archaeology of V. Gordon Childe

Contemporary Perspectives

Although V. Gordon Childe died 36 years ago, he remains the world’s most renowned prehistorian. His What Happened in History, first published in 1942, is probably the most widely read book ever written by an archaeologist. His influence and reputation endure despite the fact that many of the theoretical ideas he propounded, as well as his interpretations of European and West Asian prehistory, have been profoundly modified, or even rejected, since his death.

With contributions from such distinguished prehistorians as Kent V. Flannery, David Harris, Leo S. Klejn, John Mulvaney, Colin Renfrew, Michael Rowlands, and Bruce Trigger, The Archaeology of V. Gordon Childe is an attempt to evaluate Childe’s achievement from different "partly national" perspectives and to assess how far, and why, his work remains significant today. The contributors examine such persistent themes in Childe’s thought as the nature of culture and the role of diffusion in cultural evolution and debate the question of whether Childe anticipated "processual archaeology" in his famous models of the Neolithic and Urban Revolutions. Also included are evaluations of Childe’s early career in Australia, his relations with Soviet archaeology, including a previously unknown letter from Childe to Soviet archaeologists, and his impact on American archaeology.

160 pages | 4 halftones | 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 | © 1994


Table of Contents

David R. Harris
List of illustrations
List of contributors
David R. Harris
Childe’s relevance to the 1990s
Bruce G. Trigger
Childe and the archaeology of freedom
Michael Rowlands
"Another university man gone wrong": V. Gordon Childe 1892-1922
John Mulvaney
Childe and Soviet archaeology: a romance
Leo S. Klejn
Facsimile of a letter dated 16 December 1956 from Gordon Childe to Sovietarchaeologists
Childe the evolutionist: a perspective from Nuclear America
Kent V. Flannery
Concluding remarks: Childe and the study of culture process
Colin Renfrew
Postscript: three recollections of Childe the man
Charles Thomas, Frank Mitchell, Howard Kilbride-Jones.
List of participants in the conference

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