Biblical Archaeology Review 41:5, September/October 2015

Strata: Milestones: Theresa H. Carter (1929–2015)

The phrase “have spade, will travel” could have been coined by respected archaeologist Theresa Carter, as her excavation experience spanned the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. She is no longer excavating, however, having shuffled off her mortal coil on April 19, 2015.

Carter is best known for her excavation photography. She was the first to photograph in the dark cave tomb of Midas at Gordion, Turkey.

During a distinguished career, Carter worked at the Baghdad School of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Johns Hopkins University, the Kuwait National Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum. She also served as the director of the Kuwait Archaeological Survey.

Raised on a dairy farm in Millbrook, New York, surrounded by a brood of family and animals, Carter was instilled with an early love of living things, which was reflected in her work with the Philadelphia Zoo, Wildlife Preservation Trust International and the Brandywine Conservancy.

Despite her professional success, she suffered personally. After she divorced Edward C. Carter—the former librarian of the American Philosophical Society—over his excessive drinking habits, her only daughter, Laura Coffin Carter, was killed by a stray bullet during a gang war when she was accidentally driven near the foray while heading to dinner with her father and fellow Denison University lacrosse teammates.

Carter provided a strong role model for archaeological practice to a generation of female scholars.

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