Bell’s archaeological career is often overshadowed by tales of her privileged upbringing, unhappy love life, political involvements, and untimely death. The first woman to receive a ‘First’ from Oxford, she proved herself to be an astute and highly accomplished archaeologist, particularly in Anatolia and Mesopotamia (where she discovered the magnificent fortress at Ukhaidir), but rarely received the level of recognition enjoyed by her male counterparts. This affectionate portrait draws extensively on Bell’s diaries, photographs, and archaeological notes to reveal a remarkable woman with an adventurous spirit and a formidable thirst for knowledge.
Review by Caitlin McCall
In Search of Kings and Conquerors: Gertrude Bell and the archaeology of the Middle East by Lisa Cooper is published by I B Tauris & Co. (ISBN 978-1848854987)