Gertrude Bell was a 19th century traveller and writer, who also fulfilled unprecedented political roles for Britain in the Middle East. She was an archaeologist (with an Honours degree in Modern History from Oxford University) and founded the museum which later became the National Museum of Iraq.
She was also employed as a Liaison Officer (along with T.E. Lawrence ‘of Arabia’) by the British during the First World War – the only woman to hold that post during that war. Her work in the Middle East was fundamental in providing the foundations, not only for future archaeological work in the region, but also helped shape much of its political future.