BAR 35:01, Jan/Feb 2009
Archaeology, Dogs and Gin
Dame Kathleen Kenyon, Digging Up the Holy Land
Miriam C. Davis
(Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2008), 280 pp., $65 (hardcover), $24.95 (paperback)
Israel and the West Bank are, archaeologically speaking, the most researched piece of land in the world. The number of excavations and surveys carried out in this tiny area is by far greater than in much larger lands (the number is more than a thousand), and Kathleen Kenyon is surely one of the most important archaeologists to have dug here. She is undoubtedly, except for British prehistorian Dorothy Garrod, the most important female archaeologist to have worked here.
Kenyon was the daughter of Sir Frederic Kenyon, director of the British Museum and a celebrated classical and Biblical scholar. Like her father, she also wanted to study the past—not through ancient books and manuscripts as he did, but as an archaeologist. She began as an assistant in an excavation in Zimbabwe, in what was then Southern Rhodesia.