Agatha Christie (1890-1976) is best remembered for her prolific career as an author of scintillating murder mysteries, written with a flair for adventure. Many fans will know that she was married to Max Mallowan, an archaeologist-but few may have realized how involved in the archaeology Christie really was (though we wouldn’t necessarily call it a secret).
The British Museum has an online tour we highly recommend you take if you want to learn more (and see more great photos). It starts off with a poignant quote from her autobiography (1981, p. 546):
“’Many years ago, when I was once saying sadly to Max it was a pity I couldn’t have taken up archaeology when I was a girl, so as to be more knowledgeable on the subject, he said, ‘Don’t you realize that at this moment you know more about prehistoric pottery than any woman in England?’”
Not only was she active in the field-supervising excavation and cleaning and cataloguing finds-but she popularized archaeology by adding a little mystery and tying it to the places she experienced. For example, Appointment with Death featured the site of Petra, Jordan (which should also be familiar to fans of Indiana Jones) and the setting for Murder in Mesopotamia was based on the sites of Ur and Chagar Bazar (pictured above).
written by Suzie – @suzie_birch