Friday, May 27, 2005 -- posted by Michele
Looks like there’s some rain in the forecast for this Memorial Day weekend. It’s like I always say; what better way to spend a rainy weekend than reading online articles about the lives of the founders of Near Eastern Archaeology?
Okay, I’ve never said that. But if you find the above contention strangely compelling anyway, you might check out these links.
Many of the early Near Eastern archaeologists were characters, to say the least. You’ve no doubt heard of T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia, but you may not have heard as much about his archaeological pursuits. You can also find links to what must be everything you’d ever need to know about him here.
You may not have heard of one of his associates, Gertrude Bell, a very forceful-sounding lady who not only interested herself in Near Eastern archaeology, but was an important player in the politics of the region around the time of World War I. The Gertrude Bell Project is making her writings and photos available online.
Somewhat more staid and scholarly than the above was William Foxwell Albright, who played a major role in forming the aims and methodology of the discipline of Biblical Archaeology. An interesting article about him may be found here, and a couple of interesting quotes from him regarding the significance of Palestine and the Bible here and here.
An interesting perspective on Near Eastern Archaeology may be found, of all places, in the works of mystery writer Agatha Christie. Her second marriage was to archaeologist Max Mallowan, who excavated at Nimrud and elsewhere. Agatha accompanied Max on his excavations, and wrote about archaeology and archaeologists in her autobiography and her book Come, Tell Me How You Live, neither of which seem to be especially easy to come by, unfortunately. She set a few mysteries in the ancient and modern Near East as well, including Death Comes As the End and They Came to Baghdad.
Either of which would make excellent rainy weekend reading, in my opinion, even if we’ve strayed rather far from history per se.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!