Max Edgar Lucien
1904 – 1978
(Middle Eastern history)
'An archaeologist is the best husband
any woman can have:
the older she gets,
the more interested he is in her'
about her husband Max Mallowan
Sir Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan, was a British archaeologist, specialized in ancient Middle Eastern history, and the second husband of Dame Agatha Christie, the famous writer. He became well-known as an educator too.
After receiving a degree in classics at
New College, , Max Mallowan began his long career as a field archaeologist. His excavations were carried out in the Near East, at first as assistant to Sir Leonard Woolley at Oxford University (1925 – 1931). And Ur was the archaeological site where he first met Agatha Christie. They fell in love and got married in 1930. Ur
In 1932, after a short time working at Nineveh with Reginald Campbell Thompson, Mallowan became a field director for a series of expeditions jointly run by the British Museum and the British School of Archaeology in Iraq.
He excavated for the
British Museum at Tell Arpachiyah, a prehistoric village, and the sites at Chagar Bazar, and Tell Brak in the Upper Khabur area (Syria, 1932–8). He was also the first to excavate archaeological sites in the Balikh Valley, to the west of the Khabur basin.
During the Second World War he served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in North Africa, being based for part of 1943 at the ancient city of Sabratha.
After the war, in 1947, he was appointed Professor of Western Asiatic Archaeology at the University of London, a position which he held until elected a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 1962. 1947 was a very important year for Max Mallowan as he also became director of the
British School of Archaeology in (1947-1961). Iraq
As professor of Western Asiatic Archaeology at
London University (1947–60), he excavated in the Near East, principally at (previously excavated by A. H. Layard), with striking results described in detail in his two volumes Nimrud and its Remains, published later in the 60s. (During his excavation in Nimrud he made some important archaeological discoveries: he digged out the big Salamasar fortress and some palaces along with a lot of important objects). Nimrud
Agatha Christie's Come, Tell Me How You Live (1946) is an account of his digging in
(1934–8), and his own autobiography, Mallowan's Memoirs, appeared in 1977. An account of Mallowan’s work can be also found in his book Twenty-five Years of Mesopotamian Discovery (1956). Syria
In 1976 Agatha Christie died and a year later Mallowan married his long-standing mistress, Barbara Hastings Parker. She was an archaeologist who had been his epigraphist at Nimrud, and Secretary of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq.
Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan, was knighted for his achievements in 1968. He and his wife Dame Agatha Christie were among the small number of married couples, each of whom held knightly honors in their own right.
Mallowen died in 1978, at 74, only two years after Agatha Christie’s death. His widow Barbara, Lady Mallowan died in 1993, at the age of 85.
Max & Agatha