Janet Gourlay

Janet A. Gourlay (1863–1912) was a Scottish Egyptologist,[1] that is most well known for her excavation of and publication on the Mut Complex in Egypt. Janet was born on January 30, 1863 in Dundee, Scotland to Henry G. Gourlay and Agnes Christine Burell.[2] Later in life, she briefly studied at University College, London in 1893, with William Matthew Flinders Petrie, the pioneering archaeologist, and Margaret Murray.[3]

Janet A. Gourlay
Portrait of Janet Gourlay and Margaret Benson.jpg
Gourlay (left) pictured with partner, Benson (right)
BornJanuary 30, 1863
Dundee, Scotland
DiedMarch 3, 1912
Kempshot Park, Basingstoke
EducationUniversity College, London
PartnerMargaret Benson

Personal lifeEdit

Janet would meet her lifelong partner Margaret Benson in 1896 during the second excavation of the Mut Complex.[2] The pair were introduced by Lady Jane Lindsay.[4] In conjunction with their social relationship, they formed a scientific partnership that benefitted the pair and allowed them to continue their work in Egypt.[5] This partnership ensured their ability to complete their work without a man and receive the funding they needed complete said work.[5] Upon completion of their excavations, Margaret’s health began deteriorating, so the two women returned to their respective homes.[1] They kept in close contact via letters.[6] In these, they expressed their devotion, emotions, and happenings to one another.[7] Margaret’s health never made a recovery so plans made by the pair to return to Egypt for more excavations were never continued.[1]

On March 3, 1912, Janet died in Kempshot Park, Basingstoke.[2] She never married in her lifetime.[2]

Professional EndeavorsEdit

Janet and Margaret were the first women to undertake an excavation of this nature and is acknowledged in their preface, which reads “we have to thank M. de Morgan’s liberality for the first permission to excavate given to women in Egypt.”[8]

She joined Margaret Benson in 1896 in the second season of excavation at the Mut Complex in Karnak, Thebes, in Egypt.[9] The pair stayed at the Luxor Hotel for the duration of these digging seasons.[10] Janet and Margaret are credited with this excavation of the Temple of Mut, which they would later publish an account of in 1899.[11] It was published as an incomplete work, so that the information could be available to others and it would not be forgotten as it previously had been, which they explained in the preface.[12] Janet and Margaret’s excavation would go on to span two digging seasons, resulting in three digging seasons total for the Mut Complex.[9] The two women restored and uncovered various pieces of sculptures, heads, figures, and architecture.[8] Notable statuary includes the head of Amun (or Amun-re), the head of Ramesses III, a statue of Ramesses II, the figure of priest Sur, Senenmut, and Bak-en-Khonsu, and various other figures.[13] One of the most well known figures recovered by Janet and Margaret was the head of a figure, commonly referred to as The Benson Head.[11] After identifying the items, the pair made an effort to account for religious representations associated with the pieces.[8]

Janet later worked with Percy E. Newberry in 1900 and 1901.[14] The two would publish a journal describing the excavation of Mentu-Em-Hat.[15]

PublicationsEdit

  • Benson, Margaret and Gourlay, Janet. The Temple of Mut in Asher: An account of the excavation of the temple and of the religious representations and objects found therein, as illustrating the history of Egypt and the main religious ideas of the Egyptians, London, John Murray, 1899[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Women in Old World Archaeology". www.brown.edu. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Bierbrier, M.L. (2012). Who Was Who in Egyptology. The Egypt Exploration Society. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-85698-207-1.
  3. ^ Sheppard, Kathleen (6 July 2021). "British Egyptology (1882-1914)". UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. 1 (1).
  4. ^ SHEPPARD, KATHLEEN (2022). TEA ON THE TERRACE : hotels and egyptologists' social networks, 1885-1925. [S.l.]: MANCHESTER UNIV PRESS. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-5261-6620-3. OCLC 1287920922.
  5. ^ a b SHEPPARD, KATHLEEN (2022). TEA ON THE TERRACE : hotels and egyptologists' social networks, 1885-1925. [S.l.]: MANCHESTER UNIV PRESS. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-5261-6620-3. OCLC 1287920922.
  6. ^ Benson, Arthur Christopher (1917). Life and letters of Maggie Benson. University of California Libraries. London : J. Murray.
  7. ^ SHEPPARD, KATHLEEN (2022). TEA ON THE TERRACE : hotels and egyptologists' social networks, 1885-1925. [S.l.]: MANCHESTER UNIV PRESS. pp. 152, 153. ISBN 978-1-5261-6620-3. OCLC 1287920922.
  8. ^ a b c Benson, Margaret; Gourlay, Janet A.; Newberry, Percy Edward (1899). Temple of Mut in Asher; an account of the excavation of the temple and of the religious representations and objects found therein, as illustrating the. Princeton Theological Seminary Library. London, J. Murray.
  9. ^ a b Peck, William H. "Janet A. Gourlay". Breaking Ground: Women in Old World Archaeology. Brown University. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  10. ^ SHEPPARD, KATHLEEN (2022). TEA ON THE TERRACE : hotels and egyptologists' social networks, 1885-1925. [S.l.]: MANCHESTER UNIV PRESS. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-5261-6620-3. OCLC 1287920922.
  11. ^ a b "sculpture | British Museum". The British Museum. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  12. ^ a b Benson, Margaret; Gourlay, Janet A.; Newberry, Percy Edward (1899). Temple of Mut in Asher; an account of the excavation of the temple and of the religious representations and objects found therein, as illustrating the. Princeton Theological Seminary Library. London, J. Murray.
  13. ^ SHEPPARD, KATHLEEN (2022). TEA ON THE TERRACE : hotels and egyptologists' social networks, 1885-1925. [S.l.]: MANCHESTER UNIV PRESS. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-5261-6620-3. OCLC 1287920922.
  14. ^ SHEPPARD, KATHLEEN (2022). TEA ON THE TERRACE : hotels and egyptologists' social networks, 1885-1925. [S.l.]: MANCHESTER UNIV PRESS. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-5261-6620-3. OCLC 1287920922.
  15. ^ "Women in Old World Archaeology". www.brown.edu. Retrieved 11 March 2022.

External linksEdit