Sir Leonard Woolley (Biographical details)

Sir Leonard Woolley (archaeologist; British; Male; 17 April 1880 - 20 February 1960)

Also known as

Woolley, Charles Leonard


Archaeologist. Appointed as an assistant in the Department of Antiquities in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford under Arthur Evans (1905); joined a University of Pennsylvania expedition to excavate with David Randall MacIver (q.v.) at Karanog and Buhen in Nubia and later with an Oxford University expedition in the same region (1907-11); succeeded D.G. Hogarth (q.v.) as director of British Museum excavations at Carchemish (1911-19); this work was interrupted, first by a six week survey on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund (q.v.) in Sinai with his Carchemish colleague T.E. Lawrence (q.v.) (1914), and later by war service when he held the rank of major and worked as an intelligence officer (from 1916-18 Woolley was a prisoner of war in Turkey); subsequently worked at Tell el-Amarna, Egypt (1921-22) and then led an expedition to Ur and Tell al-Ubaid (for The British Museum and the University Museum, Philadelphia) between 1922-34; knighted (1935); began excavating at Tell Atchana [ancient Alalakh] (1937, resumed after until 1949). He was assiduous not only in producing full publications of all his excavations, but was also a good public communicator, giving radio interviews, publishing a number of popular books on archaeology, including: 'Dead Towns and Living Men', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1920; and 'Spadework'.


Obituary by A. Parrot, 'Syria', 37 (1960), pp. 384-86.
'Who's Who, 1957; C.L. Woolley, 'Spadework: adventures in archaeology', Lutterworth Press, 1953; C.L. Woolley, 'As I seem to remember', Allen & Unwin, 1962; H.V.F. Winstone, 'Woolley of Ur: the life of Sir Leonard Woolley', Secker & Warburg, 1990; Nicole Chevalier, 'La recherche archéologique française au moyen-orient 1842-1947', Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 2002, p. 226.