Gertrude Caton–Thompson (1 February 1888 – 18 April 1985) was an influential English archaeologist at a time when participation by women in the discipline was uncommon.
Gertrude Caton–Thompson was born to William Caton-Thompson and Ethel Page in 1888 in London, England, and attended private schools in Eastbourne and in Paris. Her interest in archaeology began on a trip to Egypt with her mother in 1911. During World War I, she worked for the British Ministry of Shipping, and she attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. She subsequently worked as an archaeologist in Egypt at the sites of Abydos and Oxyrhynchus. While studying at the British School of Archaeology in Egypt from 1921 to 1926, Caton-Thompson and the geologist Elinor Wight Gardner began the first archaeological survey of the northern Faiyum. She continued working in the Faiyum over the next two years, as field director for the Royal Anthropological Institute. From 1928 to 1929, Caton-Thompson excavated the famous ruins at Great Zimbabwe, being one of the first to state that the ruins were of decidedly African origin. She also worked in Kharga Oasis. Towards the end of 1937 Caton-Thompson and Elinor Gardner, accompanied by Freya Stark, initiated the first systematic excavation in the Yemen. She was a research fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge in 1923 and again from 1934-45. She influenced Mary Leakey, allowing her to tag along on archaeological expeditions as an amateur archaeologist and artist.
Caton-Thompson died in her 97th year at Broadway, Worcestershire.
- The Zimbabwe Culture, 1931.
- The Desert Fayum, 1935.
- Kharga Oasis in Prehistory, 1952.
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