'Top Secret': spying on Childe: Gordon Childe’s Security Service files 1917-1955

Start: Dec 02, 2015 05:15 PM
End: Dec 02, 2015 06:15 PM

Location: Room 209, UCL Institute of Archaeology

Vere Gordon Childe

Katie Meheux (UCL) will give a seminar organised by the Institute's History of Archaeology Research Network on 2 December.


Vere Gordon Childe (1892-1957) has long been acknowledged as one of the most fascinating and influential figures of 20th century archaeology. His early career as a labour activist in Australia and the influence of Marxist thought on his work is widely recognised, but his political life outside archaeology remains enigmatic and subject to debate.

Evidence from the British Security Service KV2 files kept on Childe and the archives of the Communist Party of Great Britain reveal that he was a dynamic and opportunistic leftwing political activist. The range of his political activities recorded, the hostile informants reporting on him and the security services watching him offer fascinating insights into his life and contemporary attitudes to left-wing politics and thought in Britain.

How dangerous was Gordon Childe? Did he and his contemporaries deliberately write his political activities out of his archaeological legacy?

All welcome!

Any enquiries about the event may be directed to Amara Thornton.