Fun Link for Fridays – The Gertrude Bell Archive


The Gertrude Bell Archive – Newcastle University

Gertrude Bell set up the Baghdad Museum in Iraq (then Mesopotamia) and was single-handedly responsible for drafting legislation that would keep Mesopotamian artefacts in the country – at a time when artefacts were whisked away to the West faster than the soil they came from could settle.

If you don’t know who Gertrude Bell is, please read more about this incredible female archaeologist from the early 20th century. She became known as the Queen of the Desert, and was immensely influential in the development of not only archaeology in the Middle East (she was fundamental in the opening of the Baghdad Museum), but also the development of the modern borders; she served as a spy during WWI and spoke many languages. She was a kick-ass woman in a time when that was pretty abnormal.

The Gertrude Bell Archive is a fully accessible online collection of her photographs, diaries and letters.

The photos are a bit difficult to search through, and the search function didn’t seem to be working when I was looking through, but they are absolutely worth perusing. Beautiful photos from the middle east c. 1900 – 1918.

Some of Gertrude Bell’s photos of places I have been to!

Jerash (April 1900)

– Jarash (April 1900)
Jerash – the large theatre (from left of cavea looking towards stage) Oval Piazza behind theatre (Forum – ringed by colonnade of Ionic columns) and Jerash in background]

I visited Jerash in 2004 when I was in Jordan participating in my undergraduate archaeological field school. It is a fantastic Roman era city. 

Petra (March 1900) The Deir

Petra (March 1900)
The Deir

Petra (March 1900)
The Deir [Ed – Deir, ‘monastery’, has the largest facade in Petra – 50 metres wide, 45 metres high. Urn rests on free-standing Nabataean capital]

Same trip as Jerash, the Monastery (al-Deir) is at the top of a 45 minute climb the original Nabataean steps. 

Petra (March 1900) The Khaznet Faraoun

Petra (March 1900)
The Khaznet Faraoun

Petra (March 1900)
The Khaznet Faraoun [Khazneh Phar’oun – “Pharoah’s Treasury, the tomb of Nabataean king.

The Khaznet Faraoun at Petra, also known as the treasury, might be a bit familiar. It acted as the location of the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I can’t say I found any Grails while I was there. 

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About newmuseumkat

I am a museologist and an archaeologist. I love both, but they work best when mixed together.
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