Bell\'s Mycenaean Vessels
Bell\'s Tomb Plan 3
Bell\'s Tomb Plan 2
Martha and Lanny Bell
Martha Bell\'s Tomb Map 1

Martha Rhoads Bell

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Martha Rhoads earned her B.A. from Barnard in New York City in History, but for graduate work she was initially drawn to the study of Minoan religion. She attended the University of Pennsylvania from 1963-68 and from 1966-67 joined the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, visiting many sites in Greece and on Crete. At the conclusion of that year, she joined the University of Pennsylvania's excavations at Gordion under Rodney Young. In 1968 she married a fellow graduate student at Pennsylvania, the Egyptologist Lanny Bell. He had begun work at the Ramesside tombs of Dra Abu el-Naga on the west bank at Luxor and she was the chief archaeologist for this expedition, participating in all three seasons (1970, '72, and '74). In 1977 her husband became the Director of the University of Chicago's Epigraphic Survey, based at Chicago House in Luxor Egypt and she became the co-manager of this large installation with its extensive professional and facilities staff. During the twelve years of the Bells' residency in Luxor, she would carry forth her own research, visit numerous sites and museums, and she took part in Barry Kemp's excavations at the city site of ancient Akhetaten, at Tell el-Amarna in 1982. Pennsylvania's professor of Egyptian archaeology, David O'Connor, had introduced Martha to Robert Merrillees whose book The Cypriote Bronze Age Pottery found in Egypt inspired her to turn her attention to the Mycenaean pottery found at ancient Egyptian sites. She collected data on numerous new and unknown Mycenaean objects both in Egypt and in European collections and assembled data for a catalogue of Mycenaean pottery in the Cairo Museum. She developed an in-depth understanding of the Late Bronze Age Mycenaean and New Kingdom Egyptian interrelationships. An important goal was to help elucidate the dating of Late Helladic Pottery, finding the transition from LH IIIA to LH IIIB to have been in the 19th Dynasty, rather than earlier as had been previously suspected. For her doctoral dissertation, she was able to redate the finds at Gurob, a site whose chronology was in a shambles but a site on which Aegeanists had placed much reliance. Her degree was rewarded by the University of Pennsylvania in 1991, just six months before Martha Rhoads Bell was killed in an automobile accident.

Author of biography: Jill Baker
Includes bibliography? No

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Keywords: Donald Ziegler Rhoads, Cedar Crest College, Barnard College, Burr C. Brundage, Morton Smith, Minoan Religion, Department of Classical Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania, Rodney Young, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Crete, Gerald M. Quinn, Mycenaean pottery, Egyptologist, Lanny Bell, David O'Connor, Robert Merrillees, Cypriote Bronze Age Pottery, Tutankhamun, Gurob, Bethlehem PA, Gordion, Ramesside tombs, Dra Abu el-Naga, Luxor, Barry Kemp, Tell el-Amarna, Epigraphic Survey, Chicago House, Egyptian Antiquities Organization, Qantir, Tell el-Daba, Karnak, Abu Goud, Cairo Museum, Group for the Study of Ancient Egyptian Ceramics, American Research Center in Egypt, Angela Milward, J.D.S. Pendlebury, Akhenaten, Dynasty 18, Dynasty 19, Horemheb, W.M.F. Petrie, American Oriental Society, American Journal of Archaeology, Deir el-Medina, French Institute in Cairo, Late Bronze Age, Late Helladic, Aegean vases, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Aegean Bronze Age chronology, Mycenaean Chronology, Theodore Davis, KV 55, American Philosophical Society, Mycenaean Commerce, Jeremy Rutter

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Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists
Published by the University of Michigan Press, 2004