The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology

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9780739174173: The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology

The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology is the first book-length biography of Margaret Alice Murray (1863–1963), one of the first women to practice archeology. Despite Murray’s numerous professional successes, her career has received little attention because she has been overshadowed by her mentor, Sir Flinders Petrie. This oversight has obscured the significance of her career including her fieldwork, the students she trained, her administration of the pioneering Egyptology Department at University College London (UCL), and her published works. Rather than focusing on Murray’s involvement in Petrie’s archaeological program, Kathleen L. Sheppard treats Murray as a practicing scientist with theories, ideas, and accomplishments of her own. This book analyzes the life and career of Margaret Alice Murray as a teacher, excavator, scholar, and popularizer of Egyptology, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, and more. Sheppard also analyzes areas outside of Murray’s archaeology career, including her involvement in the suffrage movement, her work in folklore and witchcraft studies, and her life after her official retirement from UCL.

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About the Author:

Kathleen L. Sheppard is assistant professor of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Review:

A biography of Margaret Murray has been long overdue. . . .Sheppard . . . writes with lucidity and purpose; she has the rare gift of being able to engage her reader throughout the 267 densely packed pages. . . .This biography is a meticulously researched work, which it has been very well worth the waiting for, by a writer who has an intrepid capacity for ferreting about in archives and in graveyards. (Egyptian Archaeology)

This new book constitutes by far the most in-depth examination of this fascinating scholar yet published. . . .This biography is written in a clear and engaging manner, and is structured in a way that appropriately juggles both chronological and thematic elements of Murray’s life. (Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism)

This delightful book is the first full analysis of Margaret Murray's productive and colourful life. Based on sound scholarship, Kathleen L. Sheppard successfully brings to life a 'small and energetic' woman who is revealed to have been a crucial link between nineteenth- and twentieth-century Egyptology, between the world of the amateur and the professional, and between the worlds of women and men. Brightly researched, clearly and coherently written, this is a book for all audiences and all ages. It is a joy to read. (Pamela Jane Smith, University of Cambridge)

Kathleen L. Sheppard’s biography of Margaret Murray, an important, but largely overlooked figure, makes an important contribution to the study of the history of Egyptology and archeology. Sheppard’s approach, and in particular her focus on the social context of Murray’s work, and her position as a woman working in a series of male-dominated worlds in Britain and in Egypt, of academia and archeology in particular, is especially enlightening.
(Christopher Naunton, Egypt Exploration Society)

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