Dame Kathleen

A great Biblical archeologist is gone, but her influence continues to contribute to the discipline she loved.

Leona Glidden Running, Ph.D., is professor of Biblical languages, Andrews University Theological Seminary, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Another of the great Biblical archeologists has passed from the scene with the death, on August 24, 1978, of Kathleen Mary Kenyon, the elder daughter of Sir Frederic George Kenyon, former director and principal librarian of the British Museum.

Born on January 5, 1906, and educated at St. Paul's Girls' School and at Somerville College, Oxford University, she was early captivated by archeology and joined an expedition to Rhodesia in 1929 to investigate the Zimbabwe ruins under Gertrude Caton-Thompson. The following year she began participating in the excavations of Mortimer Wheeler at Verulamium, a Roman site north of London. There she learned his method of careful stratigraphic excavation, which she later refined in her own digs, especially at Jericho. This procedure has since become known as the "Wheeler- Kenyon" method. Basically it involves excavating in grids of five-meter squares with one-meter balks left between them (at least at first) for control of levels and contents as well as for catwalks. The sides are kept as vertical and smooth as possible to exhibit the strata, and careful records are made of all strata, their con tents, floors, and walls, by means of numerous drawings and photographs. Pottery and other objects found in various strata are compared from site to site to date them as closely as possible.

Between seasons at Verulamium, Kenyon worked with J. W. Crowfoot during the 1930's at Samaria. She contributed chapters on "The Summit Buildings and Constructions"—those of Omri and Ahab through Israelite, Hellenistic, and Byzantine periods—to the publication of that excavation The Buildings at Samaria (1942). She also prepared chapters on Early Bronze Age and Israelite pottery and "Miscellaneous Objects in Metal, Bone and Stone" for another volume, The Objects From Samaria (1957). She had already published articles on Rhodesia, Verulamium, and other sites.

During the rest of the 1930's Kenyon carried on fieldwork in England under the guidance of Wheeler. She also be came a co-founder of the Institute of Archaeology in the University of Lon don, and served as its first secretary from 1935 to 1948 and as acting director during World War II. She continued as lecturer at the Institute from 1948 to 1962, leading her students in field work at Sutton Walls, England; Sabratha, Italy; and at Jericho and Jerusalem. From 1944 to 1949 she was also on the Council for British Archaeology, and in 1951 she became director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, continuing until 1966.

In 1954 she published Beginning in Archaeology for the benefit of her students. Still in use, it is a basic textbook telling what archeology is, how to be come an archeologist, and how to use the techniques of fieldwork in excavating, recording, and dealing with finds, surveys, and photography.

It was not always easy for a woman to be an archeologist in those early years, but with her independent spirit, she simply ignored or overcame obstacles and pursued her course with whatever diplomacy was needed to accomplish her purpose, often winning both admiration and awe from her students and col leagues. Kenyon was intensely interested in helping her students, even to the point of personal sacrifice. They re member not only her kindness, honesty, indefatigable working habits, and inspiring zest, but also the tattered trench coat she wore all through the years of digging at both Jericho and Jerusalem.

Technical volumes entitled Excavations at Jericho appeared in 1960 and 1965, the first on the tombs excavated from 1952 to 1954, and the second on those dug from 1955 to 1958. In 1957 her popularly written book, Digging Up Jericho, appeared, dealing with the seven seasons of excavations there and reconstructing the history of this ancient site. Later she stated, "I should have had a gap of, say, seven years instead of three between Jericho and Jerusalem. As it is, I am still [1972] finishing off Jericho be fore beginning on the Jerusalem finds. In an ideal situation, one would have innumerable stooges (or one could up grade them to Research Assistants), but British archaeology does not provide the finance. Therefore Jerusalem must wait until I have finished Jericho." Now that she is gone, her staff is completing the technical publication of her work at Jericho and is starting on the Jerusalem material.

However, she did publish two books in a popular style on her work at Jerusalem—Jerusalem: Excavating3,000 Years of History (1967), in the New Aspects of Archaeology series, edited by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, and Digging Up Jerusalem (1974). She had a marvelous ability to see the whole picture through the multitudinous details and to write it in such a way that the general reader could see it also and find it fascinating. Yet the experts could also learn from it and argue with it.

In spite of her cool, scientific approach and down-to-earth manner, she had a great sense of humor. Her students recall the "lowest boat race on record," held by the staff in barely seaworthy punts on the Dead Sea at the same time as the Oxford-Cambridge race on the Thames. Nor will they ever forget the ceremonial burial, at the bottom of her deep pit in the Muriston area in the Old City, of the worn-out Pontiac station wagon that had come to the end of its road in 1947 (see Biblical Archeologist, Spring 1979, p. 125).

She herself tells of having tidied up in August, 1966, to go to lunch with "the charming General Odd Bull, head of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Commission, at his headquarters at the Government House of the Mandate period, which I had visited in 1935" (Digging Up Jerusalem, pp. 133-135). At the border the Jordanian policeman waved aside explanations that a messenger was supposed to be coming with her authorization, saying, "Ah, Miss Ken yon. I know Miss Kenyon. Ahlan wa Sahlan ["Welcome"]."

"So I entered Government House," she wrote, "on the strength of the fact that I employed various of the police man's sons as basket-boys."

Back at the dig on the Ophel hill in mid-afternoon, she found an urgent mes sage to come to Square A XXIV. Giving up "all hopes of a siesta, ... I shed my party garb and put on dig clothes and went to see what was happening." She found her staff at the foot of the most northerly wall that had been excavated to bedrock. They were looking at a green object in a niche. It turned out to be a small bronze bucket containing another bronze bucket, inside of which was a bronze jug, all much corroded. They sent these without unpacking them, by special BOAC plane to the British Museum for careful cleaning and preservation. Magen Broshi, a professional archeologist who reviewed Kenyon's book in The Biblical Archaeology Review of September, 1975, criticized such digressions as irrelevant to archeology. But it is such real-life-on-a-dig narratives that make fascinating reading for the nonprofessional.

Kathleen Kenyon's 1963 Schweich lectures to the British Academy (of which she was a fellow) were published in 1966 as Amorites and Canaanites. In them she identified as Amorites those seminomadic invaders who came into Palestine and who camped on the ruined mound of Early Bronze Age Jericho about 2,000 B.C. She labeled this interval between built-up occupations of the Jericho tell, as intermediate Early Bronze- Middle Bronze, because pottery and other indications marked it as not be longing either to the settled culture of the early Bronze or to the Middle Bronze era found by William F. Albright at Tell Beit Mirsim and in many other sites. Her labeling created some confusion, but she had to identify a period that came be tween the first two bronze ages and that had not shown up at Tell Beit Mirsim, where Professor Albright had largely established pottery chronology for western Palestine. This period did have later demonstrated correspondences at many other sites in Palestine, from Hazor in the north to Arad in the south, and can be dated to about the time of Abraham's entry into Canaan.

Kenyon's tremendous grasp of the significance of archeology all over Palestine was exhibited in her 1960 book, Archaeology in the Holy Land, in which she traced its history from the first cave settlements at Mt. Carmel and those in prepottery Neolithic levels at the bed rock bottom of the high tell of ancient Jericho, down through the history of Israelites and Jews to the postexilic period. In 1971 she published Royal Cities of the Old Testament, based on her 1965 lecture given in connection with the centenary celebration of the Palestine Exploration Fund. In this volume she traced the history of the Solomonic cities of Jerusalem, Gezer, Megiddo, and Hazor, as well as Omri's and Ahab's Samaria. In all her books she included a multitude of excellent photographs, diagrams, and drawings to help the reader visualize what was being described.

Her last popularly written book is The Bible and Recent Archaeology (1978). "The title chosen consciously echoes that of my father's book, The Bible and Archaeology, published in 1940," she wrote. Some of his material is updated here in the light of later investigations than those to which he had access. One example is her correction that the Jericho walls that John Garstang in the 1930's had identified as the fallen walls of Joshua's time actually fell in a different destruction about a thousand years earlier.

Another important correction of earlier ideas was her demonstration that the Jebusite and Davidic city of Jerusalem was confined to the Ophel, or narrow hill projecting southeast, and that the Solomonic city was extended north to include the Temple mount (later almost doubled in size by Herod's extension of the plat form and retaining walls). Solomon's palaces and probably his administrative buildings were on the connecting area, which had not been previously occupied.

A second important result of her work at Jerusalem was the evidence that the Old City, south of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, had been outside the city walls in the first century A.D. Thus the great fourth-century church built over a small hill and a garden tomb can be the correct site of Calvary and Jesus' tomb. Her work does not prove the identification, but it does make it possible. In any case, those places now known as the Garden Tomb and Gordon's Calvary, north of the Damascus Gates, cannot possibly be the correct site (see articles by Siegfried H. Horn in the Adventist Review, January 16 and 23, 1964, and April 29, 1965).

In her last book Kenyon left out well-known history and concentrated on the results of work done, or at least published, since World War II. Archeological evidence follows the Biblical order from the patriarchs down to New Testament times, and is an excellent book to initiate a reader into the ways in which archeology illuminates the Biblical records. It repeats many of the helpful photographs and diagrams of earlier Kenyon books.

The bibliography of Kenyon's published works through 1975 (as given in the Festschrift edited for the seventieth birthday by Roger Moorey and Peter Parr, Archaeology in the Levant) lists nineteen books and monographs, ninety-seven articles, forty-four re views, and eight obituaries, including those for G. M. and J. W. Crowfoot, Awni Khalil Dajani, Roland de Vaux, William F. Albright, G. Ernest Wright, and Sir Mortimer Wheeler.

In later years she was in controversy with Albright and with Israeli archeologists over the identification of the ' 'third north wall" of Jerusalem. She criticized Benjamin Mazar's excavations at the southern and western walls of the Temple platform for progressing much too rapidly for proper stratigraphy. Specialists, who have come to their interpretations through many years of hard work and much thought, may be forgiven for becoming a bit dogmatic in their final years. No one questions the fact that she was a giant in her field and contributed immeasurably to our understanding of the background of the Bible and the historical periods related to it. She was knighted in 1973 and received other honors, including an honorary Th.D. from Tubingen and being named Grand Officer of the Order of Istiqlal in Jordan.

Obituaries of Dame Kathleen Kenyon appeared in such American journals as the November-December 1978 issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review and the Spring 1979 issue of the Biblical Archeologist. Both published photos of her—the former showed her dressed up, the latter in work clothes. The picture in work clothes is probably the way she herself might prefer to be remembered.

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Leona Glidden Running, Ph.D., is professor of Biblical languages, Andrews University Theological Seminary, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

February 1980

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