Dame Kathleen Mary Kenyon, DBE (5 January 1906 – 24 August 1978), was a leading British archaeologist of Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent. She is best known for her excavations of Jericho in 1952–1958, and has been called one of the most influential archaeologists of the 20th century. She was Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford from 1962 to 1973.
Kenyon at an excavation in 1977
Kathleen Mary Kenyon
5 January 1906
|Died||24 August 1978 (aged 72)|
|Known for||Excavation of Jericho |
Excavation of Jewry Wall
|Education||St Paul's Girls' School|
|Alma mater||Somerville College, Oxford|
Ancient Near East
|Institutions||Institute of Archaeology |
St Hugh's College, Oxford
Kathleen Kenyon was born in London, England, in 1906. She was the eldest daughter of Sir Frederic Kenyon, biblical scholar and later director of the British Museum. Her grandfather was lawyer and Fellow of All Souls College, John Robert Kenyon, and her great-great-grandfather was the politician and lawyer Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon. She grew up in Bloomsbury, London, in a house attached to the British Museum, with her mother, Amy Kenyon, and sister Nora Kenyon. Known for being hard-headed and stubborn, Kathleen grew up as a tomboy, fishing, climbing trees and playing a variety of sports.
Determined that she and her sister should be well educated, Kathleen's father encouraged wide reading and independent study. In later years Kenyon would remark that her father's position at the British Museum was particularly helpful for her education. Kathleen was an excellent student, winning awards at school and particularly excelling in history. She studied first at St Paul's Girls' School, where she was Head Girl, before winning an Exhibition to read History at Somerville College, Oxford. While at Oxford, Kenyon won a Blue for her college in hockey and became the first female president of the Oxford University Archaeological Society. She graduated in 1929 and began a career in archaeology.
Although working on several important sites across Europe, it was her excavations in Jericho in the 1950s that established her as one of the foremost archaeologists in the field. In 1962 Kenyon was made Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford. She retired in 1973 to Erbistock and was appointed a DBE. Kenyon never married. From 1974, Kenyon was the Honorary Vice President of the Chester Archaeological Society. 
A career in archaeology was first suggested to Kathleen by Margery Fry, librarian at Somerville College. After graduation Kenyon's first field experience was as a photographer for the pioneering excavations at Great Zimbabwe in 1929, led by Gertrude Caton-Thompson. Returning to England, Kenyon joined the archaeological couple Mortimer Wheeler and his wife Tessa Wheeler on their excavation of the Romano-British settlement of Verulamium (St Albans), 20 miles north of London. Working there each summer between 1930 and 1935, Kenyon learned from Mortimer Wheeler the discipline of meticulously controlled and recorded stratigraphic excavation. Wheeler entrusted her with the direction of the excavation of the Roman theatre.
In the years 1931 to 1934 Kenyon worked simultaneously at Samaria, then under the administration of the British Mandate for Palestine, with John Crowfoot and Grace Crowfoot. There she cut a stratigraphic trench across the summit of the mound and down the northern and southern slopes, exposing the Iron II to the Roman period stratigraphic sequence of the site. In addition to providing crucial dating material for the Iron Age stratigraphy of Palestine, she obtained key stratified data for the study of Eastern terra sigilata ware.
In 1934 Kenyon was closely associated with the Wheelers in the foundation of the Institute of Archaeology of University College London. From 1936 to 1939 she carried out important excavations at the Jewry Wall in the city of Leicester. These were published in the Illustrated London News1937 with pioneering reconstruction drawings by the artist Alan Sorrell whom she had happened to notice sketching her dig.
During the Second World War, Kenyon served as Divisional Commander of the Red Cross in Hammersmith, London, and later as Acting Director and Secretary of the Institute of Archaeology of the University of London.
After the war, she excavated in Southwark, at The Wrekin, Shropshire and elsewhere in Britain, as well as at Sabratha, a Roman city in Libya. As a member of the Council of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (BSAJ), Kenyon was involved in the efforts to reopen the School after the hiatus of the Second World War. In January 1951 she travelled to the Transjordan and undertook excavations in the West Bank at Jericho (Tell es-Sultan) on behalf of the BSAJ. Initial finding were first viewed by the public in the Dome of Discovery at the Festival of Britain 1951 with a reconstruction drawing by Alan Sorrell. Her work at Jericho, from 1952 until 1958, made her world-famous and established a lasting legacy in the archaeological methodology of the Levant. Ground-breaking discoveries concerning the Neolithic cultures of the Levant were made in this ancient settlement. Her excavation of the Early Bronze Age walled city and the external cemeteries of the end of the Early Bronze Age, together with her analysis of the stratified pottery of these periods established her as the leading authority on that period. Kenyon focused her attention on the absence of certain Cypriot pottery at City IV, arguing for an older destruction date than that of her predecessors. Jericho was recognized as the oldest continuously occupied settlement in history because of her discoveries. At the same time she also completed the publication of the excavations at Samaria. Her volume, Samaria Sebaste III: The Objects, appeared in 1957. Having completed her excavations at Jericho in 1958, Kenyon excavated in Jerusalem from 1961 to 1967, concentrating on the 'City of David' to the immediate south of the Temple Mount.
Although Kenyon had no doubt the sites she excavated were linked to the Old Testament narrative she nevertheless drew attention to inconsistencies, concluding that Solomon's "stables" at Megiddo were totally impractical for holding horses (1978:72), and that Jericho fell long before Joshua's arrival (1978:35). Consequently, Kenyon's work has been cited to support the Minimalist School of Biblical Archaeology.
Kenyon's legacy in the field of excavation technique and ceramic methodology is attested to by Larry G. Herr, one of the directors of the Madaba Plains Project. He attributes to her directly the first of the key events (after the advances made by William F. Albright at Tell Beit Mirsim in the 1920s) that brought about our modern understanding of pottery in the southern Levant:
"The first event was the refinement of stratigraphic techniques that Kathleen Kenyon's dig at Jericho catalyzed. The strict separation of earth layers, or archaeological sediments, also allowed the strict separation of ceramic assemblages".
Herr detects Kenyon's powerful indirect influence in the second event that promoted advance within ceramic methodology, namely:
"the importation of Kenyon's digging techniques by Larry Toombs and Joe Callaway to Ernest Wright's project at Balata. Here, they combined Wright's interest in ceramic typology in the best Albright tradition with Kenyon's methods of excavation, which allowed the isolation of clear, stratigraphically determined pottery assemblages".
Herr summarises the somewhat mixed nature of Kenyon's legacy: for all the positive advances, there were also shortcomings:
"Kenyon... did not capitalize fully on (the) implication of her stratigraphic techniques by producing final publications promptly. Indeed her method of digging, which most of us have subsequently adopted, causes a proliferation of loci that excavators often have difficulty keeping straight long enough to produce coherent published stratigraphic syntheses. Moreover, her insistence that excavation proceed in narrow trenches denies us, when we use the Jericho reports, the confidence that her loci, and the pottery assemblages that go with them, represent understandable human activity patterns over coherently connected living areas. The individual layers, insufficiently exposed horizontally, simply cannot be interpreted credibly in terms of function. This further makes publication difficult, both to produce and to use".
From 1948 to 1962 she lectured in Levantine Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Kenyon's teaching complemented her excavations at Jericho and Jerusalem. In 1962, she was appointed Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford.
The British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, amalgamated within the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) in 1998, was officially renamed the Kenyon Institute on 10 July 2003 in honour of Kathleen Kenyon. On her retirement from Oxford in 1973, she was appointed a DBE.
The finds from her excavations are held in a number of collections, including the British Museum, the UCL Institute of Archaeology, while the bulk of archive is located at the Manchester Museum.
| Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford
1962 to 1973
Crystal-Margaret Bennett, (20 August 1918 – 12 August 1987) was a British archaeologist. A student of Kathleen Kenyon, Bennett was a pioneer of archaeological research in Jordan and founded the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History.Doug Tushingham
Arlotte Douglas Tushingham (1914 - February 27, 2002) was a Canadian archaeologist most noted for his excavations of Jericho with Kathleen Kenyon.Eastern sigillata A
In archeology, eastern sigillata A (ESA) is a category of late Hellenistic and early Roman terra sigillata. In 1957, Kathleen Kenyon introduced categories A, B, C, to classify eastern sigillata without determining the exact place of manufacture. For ESA, still no production centers have been identified but distribution patterns suggest an origin in northern Syria. ESA is distinguished by the fineness of its fabric, which stands out as very pale in comparison to the deep red-slip that usually covers all surfaces. When fully applied, the slip is of a consistent color and thickness across the vessel. There are many examples on which the thickness of the slip varies considerably or on which firing is inconsistent and very dark in patches. A full range of plates, bowls, cups and jugs was produced. Early forms develop in the context of an eastern Mediterranean Hellenistic Koine, while later products are influenced by trends originating in Italian workshops. Many ESA forms are mold-made and exhibit distinct delineation between walls and floors as well as elegantly curved exterior and base profiles. A further technical feature is the frequent occurrence of a "double-dipping streak" that is the result of, first, one half of a vessel being dipped in dilute slip and then the other half being similarly treated. The consequent overlap produced a line of thicker slip that became visibly darker during firing.Eastern sigillata D
Eastern sigillata D (ESD, also known by the regional designation Cypriot sigillata) is a Roman-period tableware, or terra sigillata, produced in Cyprus. The term 'ESD' was coined by R. Rosenthal in 1978 as an extension of the nomenclature established by Kathleen Kenyon at SamariaJohn Robert Kenyon
John Robert Kenyon (13 January 1807 at Pradoe, Shropshire – 17 April 1880 in Pradoe) was a British lawyer and academic.
He was born the first son of Hon. Thomas Kenyon (the son of Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon) and Louisa Charlotte Lloyd of Pradoe in Shropshire. He attended Charterhouse School (1819) and then matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, on 24 January 1825, aged 18. He was awarded his BA in 1828, and in the same year was made a Fellow of All Souls College. He gained a BCL in 1831 and DCL in 1836. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1835, and became a bencher in 1862. In 1844 he succeeded Philip Williams as Vinerian Professor of English Law, and held the chair until his death. He was also Recorder of Oswestry. He died on 17 April 1880 in the place of his birth.
John Robert Kenyon was the father of Sir Frederic Kenyon and the grandfather of Dame Kathleen Kenyon.Kenyon
Kenyon is a surname of English origin. The name first appears in English heraldry, the first known holder being Jordan Kenyon, Lord of Winwick, Cheshire. Notable people with the surname include:
Baron Kenyon, barony since 1788, baronetcy since 1784
Carol Kenyon, British singer
Cynthia Kenyon, American molecular biologist
Dean H. Kenyon, American biologist and proponent of intelligent design
Don Kenyon (1924–1996), English cricketer
Doris Kenyon (1897-1979), American actress and singer
Dorothy Kenyon (1888–1972), New York lawyer
E. W. Kenyon (1867–1948), evangelist and president of a Bible Institute
Elmer A. Kenyon, American politician
Frederic G. Kenyon (1863–1952) biblical scholar
Herbert Hollick-Kenyon (1897–1975), aircraft pilot in Antarctica
James Kenyon (cinematographer) (1850–1925), English pioneer of cinematography
Jane Kenyon (1947–1995), American poet and translator
John Kenyon (priest), Irish Catholic Priest and Young Irelander. Close friends with John Mitchel and John Martin
John Robert Kenyon (1807–1880), British legal academic
John Samuel Kenyon (1874–1959), American phonetician
Kathleen Kenyon (1906–1978), British archaeologist of Neolithic culture
Kyle Kenyon, American politician
Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon (1732–1802), British politician and barrister
Mel Kenyon (b. 1933), American racing driver
Nicholas Kenyon (b. 1951), English music administrator
Peter Kenyon (b. 1954), chief executive of Chelsea Football Club
Sandy Kenyon (b. 1922), American actor
Sherrilyn Kenyon (b. 1965), American writer of pulp fiction novels
Steve Kenyon (b. 1951), English long-distance runner
Tom Kenyon, Australian politician
William C. Kenyon (1898–1951), American athlete and coach
William S. Kenyon (Iowa politician) (1869–1933), United States senator
William Kenyon-Slaney (1847–1908), English sportsman, soldier and politicalKyle Kenyon
(Charles) Kyle Kenyon (March 22, 1924 – March 6, 1996) was an American Republican politician.
Born in Wyeville, Wisconsin, to Charles M. Kenyon and Harriet (Shookman) Kenyon, he served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. In 1951 he received his law degree from University of Wisconsin Law School and married Xena Cade. He practiced law in Tomah, Wisconsin until shortly before his death. Kenyon served in the Wisconsin State Assembly 1957-1970. Kenyon died in Tomah survived by his wife, Xena, and five children, Charles Kyle Kenyon, Jr., Kathleen Kenyon Harris, Elizabeth Kenyon Hart, John Cass Kenyon, and Helen Annemarie Kenyon.Margaret Collingridge Wheeler
Margaret Collingridge Wheeler (1916–1990) was an Australian archaeologist who worked at Maiden Castle, Dorset with Mortimer Wheeler in the 1930s and at Jericho with Kathleen Kenyon in the 1950s. She authored books about archaeology for a general audience.Millo
The Millo (Hebrew: המלוא) was a structure in Jerusalem referred to in the Hebrew Bible, first mentioned as being part of the city of David in 2 Samuel 5:9 and the corresponding passage in the Books of Chronicles (1 Chronicles 11:8), and later in the Books of Kings (1 Kings 9:15). However it previously seems to have been a rampart built by the Jebusites prior to Jerusalem's being conquered by the Israelites. The texts also describe the Millo built by Solomon and repaired by Hezekiah, without giving an explanation of what exactly the Millo was: there is therefore some debate among scholars as to the Millo's specific nature. The most common assumption among archaeologists and historians of ancient Israel is that the Millo is the Stepped Stone Structure uncovered by Kathleen Kenyon and demonstrated by Eilat Mazar to be connected to a Large Stone Structure which she discovered in 2005.Modern archaeology
Modern archaeology is the discipline of archaeology which contributes to excavations.Johann Joachim Winckelmann was one of the founders of scientific archaeology and first applied the categories of style on a large, systematic basis to the history of art. He was "the prophet and founding hero of modern archaeology". The next major figure in the development of archaeology was Mortimer Wheeler, whose highly disciplined approach to excavation and systematic coverage in the 1920s and 1930s brought the science into the modern era. Wheeler developed the grid system of excavation, which was further improved on by his student Kathleen Kenyon. The two constant themes in their attempts to improve archaeological excavation were first, to maintain strict stratigraphic control while excavating (for this purpose, the baulks between trenches served to retain a record of the strata that had been dug through), and second, to publish a record of the excavation promptly and in a form that would tell the story of the site to the intelligent reader.
Bomb damage during the Second World War and subsequent rebuilding gave archaeologists the opportunity to meaningfully examine inhabited cities for the first time. Bombed sites provided windows onto the development of European cities whose pasts had been buried beneath working buildings. Urban archaeology necessitated a new approach as centuries of human occupation had created deep layers of stratigraphy that could often only be seen through the keyholes of individual building plots. In Britain, post-war archaeologists such as W. F. Grimes and Martin Biddle took the initiative in studying this previously unexamined area and developed the archaeological methods now employed in much cultural resource management and rescue archaeology.Archaeology increasingly became a professional activity during the first half of the 20th century. Although the bulk of an excavation's workforce would still consist of volunteers, it would normally be led by a professional. It was now possible to study archaeology as a subject in universities and other schools, and by the end of the 20th century nearly all professional archaeologists, at least in developed countries, were graduates of such programs.Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating c. 11,500 – c. 10,000 BP. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and Upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent.
The time period is characterized by tiny circular mud brick dwellings, the cultivation of crops, the hunting of wild game, and unique burial customs in which bodies were buried below the floors of dwellings.The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and the following Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) were originally defined by Kathleen Kenyon in the type site of Jericho (Palestine). During this time, pottery was not yet in use. They precede the ceramic Neolithic (Yarmukian). PPNA succeeds the Natufian culture of the Epipaleolithic (Mesolithic).Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is a Neolithic culture centered in upper Mesopotamia. It was typed by Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the West Bank. Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Mesolithic Natufian culture. However, it shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia.Raw Dykes
Raw Dykes (grid reference SK583026) is a Roman earthwork and scheduled monument in Leicester. The monument consists of two parallel banks up to 20 metres apart, with an excavated channel running between them. A stretch 110 metres long survives, but originally the earthwork was at least 550 metres in length.The official entry in the schedule of monuments maintained by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport states that the remains are those of a Roman aqueduct, stating that "the narrow cut within the centre of the ditch represented the main water channel and was designed to increase the flow of water by concentrating it within a constricted space". A publication by Leicester City Council has speculated that the earthwork may have been a canal, rather than a source of clean water, but concluded that the aqueduct-interpretation is "by far the most likely suggestion". Kathleen Kenyon, among others, argued that the level of the aqueduct (following the modern 60-metre contour) was lower than the Roman bath in Leicester, and that Raw Dykes was therefore a failure. However, J.S. Wacher has argued that the Romans were skilled hydraulic engineers, and that it is possible that they pumped water into the town from the Raw Dykes aqueduct. There is evidence that they employed a pump and a storage tank at Leicester's Roman baths in the 4th century.Excavations in 1938 found two Roman pottery sherds from the 1st century AD, indicated that Raw Dykes was constructed during or after this time. The first written reference to the earthwork occurs in the borough of Leicester's accounts from 1322. During the English Civil War, Royalist soldiers used part of the earthwork as an artillery emplacement; it also appears on several 18th- and 19th-century maps. Since the early modern period its length has been greatly shortened by the expansion of Leicester. Members of the public cannot access the site, but a viewing enclosure has been constructed leading off Aylestone Road.Roman Theatre, St Albans
The Roman theatre at St Albans, Hertfordshire, England is an excavated site within the Roman walled city of Verulamium. Although there are other Roman theatres in Britain (for example at Camulodunum), the one at Verulamium has been claimed to be the only example of its kind, being a theatre with a stage rather than an amphitheatre.The theatre differs from the typical Roman theatre in being built on a site that is only slightly sloping, and in its plan (although there are theatres with similar plans in Northern Gaul).
The theatre was built in about 140AD. Urban life continued in Verulamium into the 5th century. However, by that time the theatre had fallen into disuse. It was used as a rubbish dump in the 4th century.
It was excavated in the 19th century, and again in the 1930s by Kathleen Kenyon.Stepped Stone Structure
The Stepped Stone Structure is the name given to the remains at a particular archaeological site (sometimes termed Area G) on the eastern side of the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem. The curved, 60ft high, narrow stone structure is built over a series of terraces (hence the name). A casemate wall adjoins the structure from a northerly direction at the upper levels, and may have been the original city wall.
Work continued with Kathleen Kenyon in the 1960s, and Yigal Shiloh in the 1970s–80s. Kathleen Kenyon dated the structure to the start of Iron Age II (1000–900 BC); Macalister believed it to be Jebusite. Macalister, the first to excavate the structure, called the remains he had found a ramp; other scholars, after the more recent discoveries by Kenyon and Shiloh, have suggested that it might be a retaining wall, or a fortress. Israel Finkelstein et al. suggest that the upper part of the structure was substantially rebuilt in the Hasmonean period.It is hypothesized that the structure may be the Biblical Millo. A recent excavation by Eilat Mazar directly above the Stepped Stone Structure shows that the structure connects with and supports the Large Stone Structure. Mazar presents evidence that the Large Stone Structure was an Israelite royal palace in continuous use from the tenth century until 586 BCE. Her conclusion that the stepped stone structure and the large stone structure are parts of a single, massive royal palace can be viewed in the light of the biblical reference to the House of Millo in II Kings 12:21 as the place where King Joash was assassinated in 799 BCE while he slept in his bed. Millo is derived from "fill", (Hebrew milui). The stepped stone support structure is built of fills.Tower of Jericho
The Tower of Jericho is an 8.5-metre-tall (28 ft) stone structure, built in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period around 8000 BCE. It is among the earliest stone monuments of humanity.The Wall of Jericho was discovered by John Garstang during the excavations of 1930 to 1936, which he suggested were those described in the Book of Joshua in the Bible and dated to around 1400 BCE. Kathleen Kenyon discovered the tower built against the wall inside the town during excavations between 1952 and 1958, in trench I. Kenyon provided evidence that both constructions dated much earlier, to the Neolithic, which is the latest part of the Stone Age, and were part of an early proto-city. The tower highlights the importance of Jericho for the understanding of settlement patterns in the Sultanian period in the southern Levant.Wall of Jericho
The Wall of Jericho was a Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) defensive or flood protection wall suggested to date to approximately 8000 BCE. If interpreted as an "urban fortification", the Wall of Jericho is the oldest city wall discovered by archaeologists anywhere in the world. It is built of undressed stones and is located at the archaeological mound known as Tell es-Sultan, in the city of Jericho on the West Bank.
The topic of this article is the unique Neolithic-age stone wall, the earliest one of its kind. Other walls, such as contemporary house walls, or later, Bronze and Iron Age city walls, are only mentioned for the sake of context.Weingreen Museum of Biblical Antiquities
The Weingreen Museum of Biblical Antiquities is located in the Arts and Social Sciences Building, in Trinity College, Dublin. It received its present title in 1977 in recognition of Professor Jacob Weingreen's contribution to the creation of the museum. Professor Weingreen was Erasmus Smith's Professor of Hebrew at Trinity College Dublin between 1939 and 1979.
The museum consists mainly of pottery and other artefacts from the Ancient Near East. The nucleus of the museum's collection is constituted by artefacts from the excavations of four Biblical cities in Palestine: Lachish (Director: J.L. Starkey, 1932–1938), Jericho (Kathleen Kenyon 1952-1959), Jerusalem (Kathleen Kenyon, 1961–1967) and Buseirah in Jordan (Crystal Bennett, 1971–1975). It holds over 2000 objects. It is curated by Zuleika Rodgers, and is available to view by appointment only, though it is being digitised for online viewing.Wheeler-Kenyon method
The Wheeler -Kenyon method is a method of archaeological excavation. The technique draws its origins from the work of Mortimer Wheeler and Tessa Wheeler at Verulamium (1930–35), and was later refined by Kathleen Kenyon during her excavations at Jericho (1952–58). The Wheeler-Kenyon system involves digging within a series of squares that can vary in size set within a larger grid. This leaves a freestanding wall of earth—known as a "balk" that can range from 50 cm for temporary grids, and measure up to 2 m. in width for a deeper square. The Normal width of a permanent balk is 1 m.—on each side of a unit. These vertical slices of earth allow archaeologists to compare the exact provenance of a found object or feature to adjacent layers of earth ("strata"). During Kenyon's excavations at Jericho, this technique helped discern the long and complicated occupational history of the site. It was believed that this approach allowed more precise stratigraphic observations than earlier "horizontal exposure" techniques which relied on architectural and ceramic analysis.