1952 - Gertrude Caton-Thompson

Scope and Content

There is a single item in this series - a letter from The Secretary, Royal Asiatic Society, to John Pinches to inform them that the Burton Memorial Medal had been awarded to Gertrude Caton-Thompson and to provide the inscription to be engraved on the Medal. Dated 15 April 1954.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gertrude Caton-Thompson was born in London in 1888 and was educated at Eastbourne and in Paris. Her first experience in archaeology came in 1915 working as a bottle washer in an excavation in France. During World War I she worked for the British Ministry of Shipping as part of which she attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. In 1921 Caton-Thompson embarked on studies at University College, London. The following year she began attending courses at Newnham College, Cambridge, before joining further excavations in Egypt in 1924. While much of her archaeological work was in Egypt, she also went on expeditions in other countries, for example, Zimbabwe and South Arabia. Her many contributions to the field of archaeology include a technique for excavating archaeological sites, and information on Paleolithic to Predynastic civilizations in Zimbabwe and Egypt. Caton-Thompson held many official positions in organizations such as the Prehistoric Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Caton-Thompson retired from fieldwork after the Second World War. A long time friend of Dorothy Hoare, a colleague from Cambridge, Caton-Thompson bought and shared a house with Hoare. After Hoare married Jose "Toty" M. de Navarro, another Cambridge lecturer in archaeology, the Navarros continued to share the house with Caton-Thompson. When she and the Navarros retired from academic life in 1956, Caton-Thompson moved with them to Broadway, Worcestershire. She resided with them and their son, Michael, for the rest of her life. She died in 1985, in her 97th year at Broadway.

Related Material

The Minutes of the Council Meeting may provide additional details of the award to Gertrude Caton-Thompson. It may also provide details as to why the Medal was not awarded in the intervening period. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1954 p.212, gives a report of the Presentation of the Burton Memorial Medal to Gertrude Caton-Thompson and the lecture which she delivered entitled "An Archaeologist in the Hadramaut".