Born in 1934 in Cambrai, France, Godelier is a major figure of French anthropology. After obtaining the agrégation in philosophy, then studying economics, he decided to become an anthropologist and developed an interest in a domain in the then little studied area of economic anthropology, that is to say, the study of the economic systems of peasants and tribal societies. Entering the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes as “Chef de travaux” with Fernand Braudel, he later became one of Lévi-Strauss’ assistants in the laboratory of social anthropology at the Collège de France. He carried out his field work among the Baruya of Papua New Guinea starting in 1967 and ending in 1988. He was the first anthropologist to work within this society of gardeners living in the mountainous areas.