Caton-Thompson, Gertrude (1888–1985)

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Caton-Thompson, Gertrude (1888–1985)

English archaeologist. Born on February 1, 1888 (some sources cite 1889), in London, England; died on April 18, 1985, in Hereford, Worcester, England; educated at the Links School, Eastbourne, and at Newnham College, Cambridge; trained at the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, studying under Flinders Petrie.

Together with the young British woman archaeologist Elinor W. Gardner , Gertrude Caton-Thompson worked on a number of projects in Egypt, especially in Northern Fayum (1924–28). Her investigations pushed back the beginnings of Egyptian culture as far as 5000 bce, into the Neolithic era, and were reported in her book The Desert Fayum. In 1928–29, she traveled to Rhodesia to excavate the ruins at Zimbabwe (the name would eventually be adopted by that country when it ceased to be subjugated by colonial rule). Caton-Thompson worked on the early site of Kharga Oasis in Egypt (1930–33), later publishing Kharga Oasis in Pre-history, and the tombs and temples of Hureidha in the Hadramaut of southern Arabia (1937–38), which resulted in The Tombs and Moon Temple of Hureidha, Hadramaut. She was president of the British Prehistoric Society, vice-president of the Royal Anthropological Institute, governor of Bedford College (University of London), and a fellow of Newnham College (Cambridge). Gertrude Caton-Thompson retired in 1957.