Winifred Mabel Brunton née Newberry (6 May 1880 – 29 January 1959)
The excavation monograph for the two seasons of work between 1927 and 1929 at the multi-period site at Mostagedda, Egypt, has the lead excavator’s name as its author: Guy Brunton. In the introduction, however, he confesses that “without her skill and untiring energy this volume would have had only a very small proportion of its value as a record”. That women was his wife, Winifred Brunton, credited as being “the hardest-working member of the party”.
Winifred Brunton is better known for her artwork, including watercolours of artefacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun, portraits of Kings and Queens of Ancient Egypt, and even giant murals in her grand and opulent family mansion at Prynnsberg, South Africa, where she retired with her husband. She was, however, also an experienced field archaeologist. She was trained under Margaret Murray at UCL for two years, along with her husband, before both joining Flinders Petrie’s British School of Archaeology in Egypt teams at Lahun, a site about 60 miles south of Cairo from 1912-1914. After the war she was on site every year for months at a time, sharing the hardships and excitement of life in the field. In these endeavours the Bruntons, like Hilda and Flinders Petrie, were equal partners, as Petrie himself noted in his introduction to Lahun II: “in 1921 the Lahun work was entirely in the hands of Mr. and Mrs. Brunton”.
In addition to being trained by and maintaining a close friendship with Margaret Murray, Winifred worked with many other Trowelblazers on these excavations, including the famous Gertrude Caton- Thompson and Hilda Petrie.
Post by Alice Stevenson
Edited by Brenna
How Winifred saw her own work: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/winiferbrunton.htm
Her connection with the Petrie Museum: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/museums/2014/01/17/cairo-camden-and-the-cape/
Main Image: Winifred Brunton on the far right of this picture beside Guy Brunton. From Gertrude Caton-Thompson’s photograph album. Copyright Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL.