Women in the Valley of the Kings: The Untold Story of Women Egyptologists in the Gilded Age (Hardcover)

Women in the Valley of the Kings: The Untold Story of Women Egyptologists in the Gilded Age By Kathleen Sheppard Cover Image
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now


The never-before-told story of the women Egyptologists who paved the way of exploration in Egypt and created the basis for Egyptology.

The history of Egyptology is often told as yet one more grand narrative of powerful men striving to seize the day and the precious artifacts for their competing homelands. But that is only half of the story. During the so-called Golden Age of Exploration, there were women working and exploring before Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King Tut. Before men even conceived of claiming the story for themselves, women were working in Egypt to lay the groundwork for all future exploration.

In Women in the Valley of the Kings: The Untold Story of Women Egyptologists in the Gilded Age, Kathleen Sheppard brings the untold stories of these women back into this narrative. Sheppard begins with some of the earliest European women who ventured to Egypt as travelers: Amelia Edwards, Jenny Lane, and Marianne Brocklehurst. Their travelogues, diaries and maps chronicled a new world for the curious. In the vast desert, Maggie Benson, the first woman granted permission to excavate in Egypt, met Nettie Gourlay, the woman who became her lifelong companion. They battled issues of oppression and exclusion and, ultimately, are credited with excavating the Temple of Mut.

As each woman scored a success in the desert, she set up the women who came later for their own struggles and successes. Emma Andrews’ success as a patron and archaeologist helped to pave the way for Margaret Murray to teach. Margaret’s work in the university led to the artists Amice Calverley’s and Myrtle Broome’s ability to work on site at Abydos, creating brilliant reproductions of tomb art, and to Kate Bradbury’s and Caroline Ransom’s leadership in critical Egyptological institutions. Women in the Valley of the Kings upends the grand male narrative of Egyptian exploration and shows how a group of courageous women charted unknown territory and changed the field of Egyptology forever.

About the Author

Kathleen Sheppard was born and raised in the Midwestern United States, where she has now settled after years away. She earned an MA in Egyptian Archaeology from University College, London, where she met the memory of Margaret Murray for the first time. She earned an MA and PhD in History of Science from the University of Oklahoma, where she realized she wanted to find more women like Murray and has continued doing so ever since. She sits on the board of the Missouri Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt and is the Chapters’ Council VP. She is a Professor in the History and Political Science department at Missouri S&T and lives in central Missouri with her husband, son, dog and cat.

Praise For…

“Sheppard joins Lynne Olson, author of Empress of the Nile, in spotlighting the important contributions of female Egyptologists in the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries in this striking group biography. Many of the women were partnered romantically as well as professionally, making this a vital, lively read for those interested in LGBTQ+ history as well as in women’s essential contributions to the excavation and preservation of ancient Egypt artifacts.” - Booklist

"In this lively, absorbing revisionist account of the golden age of archaeology in Egypt, Kathleen Sheppard brings to brilliant life a now-forgotten network of remarkable women whose work enabled the headline-grabbing discoveries of their more celebrated male colleagues and changed Egyptology forever." - Lynne Olson, author of Empress of the Nile and NYT Bestseller Madame Fourcade’s Secret War

"Kathleen Sheppard shines a historian’s flashlight into the dark recesses of ancient Egyptian history in Women in the Valley of the Kings. Howard Carter has nothing on the women Egyptologists of her book whose mostly uncredited toil, talent and tenacity helped build the foundations of the discipline. An engaging and evocative work that transports the reader into Egyptian tombs and down the Nile with the hidden heroines of Egyptology." - Heath Hardage Lee, author of The Mysterious Mrs. Nixon and The League of Wives

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250284358
ISBN-10: 125028435X
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 16th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English