Murray, Margaret (1863–1963)

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Murray, Margaret (1863–1963)

British archaeologist. Born in Calcutta, India, in 1863; died in 1963; daughter of Anglo-Irish parents (her father was a merchant, her mother a missionary); educated in England.

Margaret Murray was born in Calcutta, India, in 1863, educated in England, lived in Bonn, Germany, during her teen years, and journeyed back and forth to India several times. By age 17, she was nursing in Calcutta General Hospital. Returning to England, the 23-year-old joined the suffragist movement.

As an ardent feminist, Murray was especially interested in women in ancient Egypt and enrolled at the University College London. Since advanced degrees in archaeology were largely restricted to men, she first got her degree in linguistics, knowing full well that linguists were involved with philology and the Classical civilizations. Fortunately, her professor, Sir Flinders Petrie, was receptive to women, allowing both his wife and Murray to enroll in his Egyptology classes and participate in his excavations at Abydos in the late 1890s. By 1895, Murray was teaching elementary hieroglyphics. She taught at University College from 1902, becoming assistant (1909), lecturer (1921), and assistant professor (1922). Following her retirement in 1932, Murray undertook an archaeological dig in Palestine. Her writings include The Splendour that was Egypt (1931), The Genesis of Religion, and her autobiographical My First Hundred Years.

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Murray, Margaret (1863–1963)

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