Institute of Archaeology

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Margaret (Peggy) Drower

16 November 2012

Margaret (Peggy) Drower

Institute staff, students, friends and colleagues will be saddened to hear of the death of Margaret Drower on 12 November.

Margaret (Peggy) Drower, MBE, FSA, died peacefully on 12 November 2012 only a month away from her 101st birthday.

The daughter of diplomat Sir Edwin Drower and his wife Ethel Stefana Drower, an anthropologist and specialist on the Mandaeans (and who witnessed Woolley's discovery of the Royal Tombs of Ur), Peggy was taught by Flinders Petrie, Margaret Murray and Stephen Glanville. She was awarded a First in Egyptology - one of the first Egyptology degrees awarded by UCL.

She excavated at Armant with Myers and Mond and Ali Suefi, and at Amarna with Pendlebury. Glanville recommended her for the post in the History Department at UCL, which she held until the war. As an Arabic speaker she was sent out to work with Freya Stark in the Baghdad Ministry of Information. After the war she developed the Ancient History/Egyptology Degree which has produced generations of rounded scholars who see the history of their specialist discipline in the greater framework of the ancient world.

After her retirement as Reader in Ancient History at UCL, Peggy was made a Fellow of UCL and later Visiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology. Writing to the Institute's Director, Stephen Shennan, in 2008 she said:

  • "I follow the news of the Institute's members with great interest and am proud to belong to the organisation I have been closely connected with since its inauguration".

She contributed to many books, especially the Cambridge Ancient History series, and documentary programmes on the ancient Middle East and is, of course, the author of Flinders Petrie: a Life in Archaeology (London: Victor Gollancz, 1985); and Letters from the Desert: The Correspondence of Flinders and Hilda Petrie, (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2004).

With Hilda Petrie, Peggy can take credit for creating the public persona of Petrie and by making this material available in such readable and easily accessible books, she made an invaluable contribution to the history of the subject.

Our thoughts go out to her family at this difficult time.


With thanks to Jan Picton, Friends of the Petrie Museum for reproduction of parts of her obituary.