Margaret Alice Murray (13 July 1863 – 13 November 1963) was an English Egyptologist, archaeologist, anthropologist, and folklorist. The first female to be appointed as a lecturer in archaeology in the United Kingdom, she worked at University College London (UCL) from 1898 to 1935. She served as President of the Folklore Society from 1953 to 1955, and published widely over the course of her career.
Born to a wealthy middle-class family in Calcutta, British India, Murray divided her youth between India and Britain, training as both a nurse and a social worker. In 1894 she began studying Egyptology at UCL, developing a friendship with department head Flinders Petrie, who appointed her Junior Professor in 1898. In 1902–03 she took part in Petrie's excavations at Abydos, Egypt, there discovering the Osireion temple, and the following season investigated the Saqqara cemetery, both of which established her reputation in Egyptology. On return to London she became closely involved in the first-wave feminist movement and devoted much time to improving women's status at UCL.
Undertaking public lectures at Manchester Museum, where she became the first woman to publicly unwrap a mummy in 1908, she began to author books on Egyptology for a general audience. Unable to return to Egypt due to World War I, she focused her research into the witch-cult hypothesis, the theory that the witch trials of Early Modern Christendom were an attempt to extinguish a surviving pre-Christian, pagan religion devoted to a Horned God. Although later academically discredited, the theory provided a significant influence on the religion of Wicca. From 1921 to 1931 she undertook excavations of prehistoric sites on Malta and Minorca, and developed her interest in folkloristics. Appointed assistant professor in 1928, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1927 and retired in 1935. She continued lecturing and publishing in an independent capacity until her death...
Quotes by Margaret Murray
More Quotes by Margaret Murray