Kathleen Kenyon Essay

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Some of the more remarkable archaeological discoveries in the 20th century were made by Dame Kathleen Kenyon. Kathleen Kenyon was born into the heart of the English scholarly community and with all the help that influence and connections could provide became one of the foremost excavators in Great Britain. Even though Miss Kenyon was purported to be a Christian, she did not argue for the biblical account perspective when referencing her excavations.

She believed that archaeology was needed to prove the historicity of the Bible; but more importantly, that archaeology was needed to aid us in the interpretation of the older parts of the Old Testament, which from the nature of their sources cannot be read as a straightforward record (Kenyon, 266). Remembered for her substantial contributions to the field of archaeology Miss. Kenyon brought with her refined versions of the excavation method pioneered by Mortimer Wheeler.

Along with inventing field methods that strengthened the science, Kathleen shaped the discipline of archaeology with her contribution to institutions, training of future archaeologists and publications. Another important aspect of Kathleen Kenyons archaeological career was her role as a teacher. From 1948 to 1962 she lectured in Levantine Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

Kenyons teaching, complemented by her excavations at Jericho and Jerusalem (which successively formed her field school), helped to train a generation of archaeologists, who went on themselves to teach in Britain, Australia, Canada, the United States, Denmark and elsewhere. Thesis Statement While Miss Kathleen Kenyon is considered one of the foremost influential female archaeologists in the 20th century, her autocratic and possibly overconfident characteristics may have overshadowed her legacy to the field of archaeology.

I will conclude that while her conclusions were not always correct, Miss Kenyon did help to popularize and substantially contribute to the science. Early Life Kathleen Kenyon was eldest daughter of the prominent biblical scholar and British Museum director Sir Frederick Kenyon, who was also connected to the Institute of Archaeology, the Palestinian Exploration Fund, the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, and the British Academy. Born on January 5, 1906, she possessed the same sense of order and fascination with detail as her father.

Because of the privileged circumstances of her birth and early childhood, Kathleen was brought up in daily contact with the archaeological establishment of the late Victorian era in England and must have been familiar with the prominent antiquarians of the time. Kathleen was enrolled into the St. Pauls Girls School the most distinguished girls school in London in 1919. It is possible that the education that she received at (SPGS) afforded her the opportunity to think outside the realm of marriage and motherhood.

Even though SPGSs goal was to prepare the students as future wives and mothers, the education was geared toward getting scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge and was basically identical to that of the boys curriculum. Kathleen had received numerous books from her father, i. e. , atlases, Shakespeare, novels, Bibles, etc. in his attempt to stimulate her intellectual development. As a result Kathleen was a good student and left SPGS with the Mary Wilson History Prize in 1925 and upon graduation a scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford.

Kathleen did not major in archaeology at Oxford but concentrated on Modern History, which emphasized English Constitutional history; covering Europe from the early Middle Ages to the modern period. By her final year, the Oxford University Archaeological Society needed to attract more female members and Kathleen became candidate for president in November, 1927. This appointment was influenced by the obvious fact that her father was the Director of the British Museum and co-president of the Somerville College Archaeological Society.

At this point in her matriculation, the principal of Somerville College became more vested in Kathleens future. Margaret Fry would steer Kathleen away from the traditional female calling of becoming a teacher and would influence Kathleen to pursue archaeology as a career. Pursuing Archaeology Kathleens first archaeological experience was in the Great Zimbabwe in Southern Rhodesia as a photographer where she was joined by Gertrude Caton-Thomson. This expedition had been made possible by her fathers facilitation and connections along with Margaret Frys persuasion.

As she would prove useful on this excavation, being both industrious and reliable, her duties would expand beyond taking pictures to overseeing the workers assisting at the site. After she returned to England, at the completion of the Zimbabwe expedition, Kathleen joined Sir Mortimer Wheelers staff at his excavation at Roman Verulamiun (St. Albans), north of London. While there she would study Wheelers method of stratigraphic excavation. Wheelers findings were based on the concept developed by geologist William Smith where materials accumulate on a site through a sequence of layers that explain the historical timeline (stratigraphy).

Kathleen would embrace this technique and eventually refine it. Kathleens archaeological skills increased during the 1930s and 1940s while working along with John and Grace Crowfoot. She was instrumental in contributing to the founding of the University of Londons Institute of Archaeology. Kenyon was a lecturer in Palestinian Archaeology and actively combined seminar and classroom instruction with actual work in the field. She conducted excavations at Sutton Walls in England and Sabratha in Libya and served as the first Secretary and as acting Director during these war years. She was associated ith the Institute from 1935 to 1962.

She also, in 1951, began serving as Honorary Director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. The Jericho Excavation In 1949 British Archaeologist John Garstang, who had earlier began excavations at Jericho, asked Kathleen to review his findings. Determining that Garstangs work needed modification she began in 1951 to use the more refined version of excavation method which had been pioneered by Wheeler. This method now called The Wheeler-Kenyon system involves digging within a series of 5—5 meter squares set within a larger grid.

This leaves a (1 meter wide) freestanding wall of earth known as a balk on each side of a unit. These vertical slices of earth allow archaeologists to compare the exact provenance of a found object or feature to adjacent layers of earth (strata). Kenyons method, which resembled a checkerboard with walls between the squares, revealed layers of time at the given site. This system may be thought of as a vertical as opposed to a horizontal approach which significantly improved the ability to date findings and provided a measure of control of the site prior to full-scale excavation and clearing.

This methodology also required very close supervision as each layer of soil had to be documented. These efforts were arduous and patience and diligence were necessary for all involved. Kathleens team dug thru layer after layer of ancient cities until they found one layer that had thick walls, had been burned by fire and had huge quantities of food that was undisturbed. The importance of the food that they found is that in the ancient world food was very valuable. All food had to be hand processed and one of the most important things looted from a conquered city would be its food reserves, but not at this layer of Jericho.

She also uncovered the first walled city full with houses and courtyards dating back to the Neolithic. Toward the end of the 1953 season, her and her team found a human skull modeled with plaster to resemble an actual, living human being, complete with eyes made out of shells. Kathleens application of the Wheeler-Kenyon method led her to disagree with conclusions supporting the Biblical stories regarding Jericho. Kathleen stated that she had not found anything which proved habitation of Jericho during the time of Joshua and that Garstangs dates were wrong.

While her evidence yielded violent destruction by fire, her interpretation was that this happened before the Israelites captured Jericho. These deductions sparked the beginning of the overturning of Biblical Archaeology and its interpretations which had great influence during the early and mid-twentieth century. Skeptics would appropriate her findings as absolute proof that Joshua and the Battle of Jericho did not happen supporting the minimalist school that believe the Old Testament Historical account to be exaggerated. The City of David

By 1958, Kathleen had concluded her excavations in Jericho. Fresh from those exploits, she turned her attention to Jerusalem from 1961 to 1967 and concentrated her efforts in and around the city, particularly in the oldest part of the ancient area known as the Hill of Ophel or the City of David, south of the Temple Mount. Perhaps the most brilliant of her many accomplishments in seven seasons of excavations in Jerusalem has been Miss Kenyons clarification of the defenses of this spring on the eastern side of the eastern-ridge.

She has also established to the satisfaction of almost all scholars that this city, limited to some 11 acres, stopped on the north considerably before the area of the present walled city and Temple Mount. This was the Jerusalem of the Jebusites and King David. King Solomon extended the city to the north. He built the Temple on a platform in the area of the present Temple Mount, and connected the new Temple area with the old Davidic city by walls on the east and west. She was able to excavate much of the structure of the massive Stepped Stone Structure the largest Iron Age construction in Israel.

Some scholars have stated that her expedition in Jerusalem was thought to be a failure, but Kathleens accomplishments were greatly overshadowed by the unstable political environment and occupation of Palestine. The 1967 Six-Day War put an end to the project and this would be her final excavation. Her Legacy One reason for Kathleen Kenyons fame, as well as her lasting influence on the discipline, was the fact that Jericho became the training ground for a whole generation of younger archaeologists, thus diffusing her methods.

From 1962 to until her retirement in 1973, Kathleen Kenyon served as rincipal at St. Hughs College in Oxford. In 1973, because of her many accomplishments and contributions, Queen Elizabeth II named Kathleen Mary Kenyon DBE (Dame of the Order of the British Empire), the female version of knighthood. Dame Kathleen Kenyon then concentrated on publishing her work on Jericho and Jerusalem. Many works were edited and published after her death in 1978. Miss. Kenyons reputation is also based on her excavations at three of the most important sites in the Holy Land (Samaria, Jericho, and Jerusalem).

Hershel Shanks, founder and editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review states: As a field archaeologist”as an expert in excavating techniques”she probably has no peer. As a historian and an interpreter of archaeological data she is one of the most respected voices in academia. Her role in developing a stronger archaeological methodology and in both technique and ceramics influence the practice to this day. Wheelers (1954) Archaeology from the Earth and Kenyons (1961) Beginning in Archaeology were among the first of publications to shy away from informal archaeological recordings and advocate stratification analysis.

She suggested that strata be separated and numbered and that interfaces between deposits of stratigraphic excavation, which had previously been ignored, be taken into account. While the Wheeler-Kenyon method, used throughout the Middle East, is undoubtedly an everlasting contribution to the improvement of archaeological techniques; however, it also has some limitations, at least one of which may be illustrated by examples from her book. In these examples, Miss. Kenyon and her colleagues erred in interpreting the evidence, as shown by later Israeli excavations, because of what might be characterized as a methodological fallacy.

Her excavations near the Temple Mount, in the Armenian Garden, the Herodian platform, Josephus Third Wall, settlement of the eastern slopes of Mount Zion to name a few, have all been matters of scholarly dispute. Mr. Shanks also states: She (Miss Kenyon) is also often at loggerheads with Israeli archaeologists. The most pervasive and persistent difference between Miss Kenyon and Israeli archaeologists concerns the areas of Jerusalem which were settled during the various post-Solomonic periods of the citys history.

Miss Kenyon argues strongly for what might be called the minimalist position: The city remained a small settlement until the first century A. D. The Israelis contend the city expanded to adjacent areas during the period of the Judean monarchy. Larry G. Herr, Director of the Madaba Plains Project summarizes the somewhat mixed nature of Kenyons legacy: for all the positive advances, there were also shortcomings: Kenyon¦ did not capitalize fully on (the) implication of her stratigraphic techniques by producing final publications promptly.

Indeed her method of digging, which most of us have subsequently adopted, causes a proliferation of loci that excavators often have difficulty keeping straight long enough to produce coherent published stratigraphic syntheses. Moreover, her insistence that excavation proceed in narrow trenches denies us, when we use the Jericho reports, the confidence that her loci, and the pottery assemblages that go with them, represent understandable human activity patterns over coherently connected living areas.

The individual layers, insufficiently exposed horizontally, simply cannot be interpreted credibly in terms of function. This further makes publication difficult, both to produce and to use. In the early 1980s, as the publication of her raw data became public, reinterpretation became the order of the day. Some scholars are still reinterpreting her findings and putting new dates on events at Jericho. Conclusion Rewriting History

Based on Kenyons conclusions, Jericho has become the parade example of the difficulties encountered in attempting to correlate the findings of archaeology with the Biblical account of a military conquest of Canaan. Scholars by and large have written off the Biblical record as so much folklore and religious rhetoric. And this is where the matter has stood for the past 25 years. Bryant G. Wood, archaeologist and editor of Bible and Spade, discovered that Kenyon had incorrectly dated her finds. The conquest of Jericho actually took place in the 1400s BC.

During this time, Joshua was certainly there. Wood demonstrated that the carbon-14 datings, stratigraphy, pottery, and other evidences, including fallen walls, give archaeological confirmation to the Bible account in Joshua 6. Mr. Wood also states: Despite my disagreements with Kenyons major conclusion, I nevertheless applaud her for her careful and painstaking field work. It was she who brought order to the confused stratigraphic picture at Jericho. Her thoroughgoing excavation methods and detailed reporting of her findings, however, did not carry over into her analytical work.

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