Australian Broadcasting Commission Guest of Honour

24th May 2014

Vere Gordon Childe


As you have just heard, I am an archaeologist. Now, some people have the idea that archaeology deals with things so remote, that they could never possibly have any relevance to our present-day lives. But this, I assure you, is not so. Actually, the modern nuclear physicists, for example, who are achieving the transmutation of metals, owe more to the successful practice of metal workers in the archaeologists’ Bronze Age, than to the learned theories of Babylonian or Egyptian alchemists and their medieval disciplines in the so-called historical eras. For the Bronze Age metal workers smelted the blue-green crystalline ores of copper, and so reduced them to the tough, reddish metal, and this was the prototype of all the chemical and nuclear changes now deliberately controlled by man. And don’t forget that this startling change was regularly brought about, before anyone had devised a system of writing to record the smelters’ formulae.

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Gordon Childe, V.
Australian Broadcasting Commission Guest of Honour
June 1990
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