Portrait of Gertrude Caton Thompson, by Ramsey & Muspratt, Cambridge, 1938. courtesy The Royal Anthropological Institute
1 February 1888
|Died||18 April 1985
|Education||British School of Archaeology in Egypt; Newnham College, Cambridge|
|Known for||Abydos, Egypt; Oxyrhynchus; Faiyum|
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 was president of the Prehistoric Society from 1940 to 1946.
Caton-Thompson died in her 97th year at Broadway, Worcestershire.
- The Zimbabwe Culture, 1931; F. Cass, 1970
- Gertrude Caton-Thompson, Elinor Wight Gardner The Desert Fayum, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 1934.
- Kharga Oasis in Prehistory, 1952. University of London, 1952
- Mixed memoirs, Paradigm Press, 1983
Notes and references
- Magarita Díaz-Andreu, Marie Louise Stig Sorensen, ed. (2013). Excavating Women: A History of Women in European Archaeology. Routledge. ISBN 9781134727759.
- Morelli 1995, p. 72
- Gertrude Caton-Thompson (1888-1985), Archaeologist papers at the Cambridge University Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
- "Gertrude Caton-Thompson", Distinguished Women 1997
- "Gertrude Caton-Thompson: Society Girl, Suffragist and Scientific Archaeologist", Trowel Blazers2013
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