In May 1939, the accomplished Palaeolithic archaeologist, Dorothy Garrod, was elected Cambridge's Professor of Archaeology — the first woman to hold a Chair at either Cambridge or Oxford. Garrod was well qualified for the position in several ways. Trained by R.R. Marett at Oxford and the Abbé Henri Breuil in France, she was renowned for her excavations in Gibraltar, Palestine, Southern Kurdistan and Bulgaria. By 1939, Garrod was one of Britain's finest archaeologists. She had discovered the wellpreserved skull fragments of ‘Abel’, a Neanderthal child, in Gibraltar, identified the Natufianculture while excavating Shukbah near Jerusalem, directed the large, long-term excavations at Mt Carmel, established the Palaeolithic succession for that crucial region and then travelled, in 1938, to explore the important Palaeolithic cave of Bacho Kiro in Bulgaria. Published reports of her excavations had appeared promptly and were very favourably reviewed. The prehistorian, Grahame Clark, who was to succeed her to the Disney Chair in 1952, described Garrod's The Stone Age of Mount Carmel (1937) as ‘pure gold’ (Clark 1937: 488).
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