Kathleen Kenyon

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Dame Kathleen Mary Kenyon (5 January, 190624 August, 1978), important archaeologist of Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent and excavator of Jericho in Jordan from 1952 to 1958.

Her father, Sir Frederic Kenyon, was Director of the British Museum. Kathleen Kenyon was a graduate of Somerville College, Oxford, and was the first woman to become president of the Oxford Archeological Society. Following her graduation in 1929, she worked with Gertrude Caton–Thomson on the excavation of Great Zimbabwe, and subsequently went to work for leading archaeologist, Sir Mortimer Wheeler.

After World War II she co-founded the University of London Institute of Archeology, and worked on excavations at Sutton Walls, Sabratha, and other major sites, eventually becoming Honorary Director of the British School of Archeology in Jerusalem. Her work at Jericho helped date the occupation of the mound Natufian culture at the end of the last Ice Age (10,000 – 9,000 BC). She also excavated in Jerusalem, with relatively little success. In 1962, she became principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford. On her retirement in 1973, she was created a DBE (Dame of the Order of the British Empire).

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