Gertrude Bell is an incredible figure: an archaeological trowel blazer, and enormously important in modern history, being a major political force behind the construction of the Middle East.

Gertrude excavated in 1907 at Binbirkilise, Turkey, an early Christian site, and during a 1400 mile expedition down the Euphrates river, discovered the early Islamic desert palace of Ukhaidir. Her writings are still regarded as key texts for the wider region. She was the first Director of Antiquities in Iraq, with a passion for heritage rather than treasure-hunting, fighting for artefacts to remain in the country. She founded the Iraqi Archaeological Museum in Baghdad in 1926 just before she died.

Gertrude was also a global traveller, taking hundreds of photographs of historic sites, an Alpine mountaineer, could speak 8 languages, and worked for British intelligence in Cairo.

Learn more herehere and listen to a BBC radio program about her here.

posted by Becky.

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