– M.E.L. Mallowan on C. Leonard Woolley
Sir Charles Leonard Woolley was born on April 17, 1880 in a suburb of London. He was educated at New College, Oxford. After working for a short time at the Ashmolean Museum, Woolley began his archaeology career with excavations at Corbridge in Northern England, in 1906. He went on to excavate at Carchemish in Syria for the British Museum in 1912. Woolley’s most important archaeological work occurred at Ur, in Southern Iraq, with his discovery and extensive excavations of the Royal Cemetery. The excavation is considered one of the most important archaeological finds to date. Woolley’s skills as an excavator, expedition director and storyteller are evident in the work he accomplished in 12 short seasons at Ur. Woolley was knighted in 1935 for his contributions to modern archaeology. He wrote and published a number of books on the subject, many written for the general public, making the material accessible and easy to understand. Woolley died less than a month before his 80th birthday, in 1960.