Miriam C. Davis, B.A. 1986, spent a year studying history and archaeology at the University of St. Andrews on a Robert T. Jones Scholarship after her graduation from Emory. She then earned an M.A. in Medieval Archaeology from the University of York as a Fulbright fellow, before completing her PhD in Medieval History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In 2008 Miriam published the enthusiastically received Dame Kathleen Kenyon: Digging Up the Holy Land, a biography of arguably the most important woman archaeologist of the twentieth century in University College London’s Institute of Archaeology series. Archaeologists are generally known for one of two things: making an important methodological contribution to the discipline, or excavating an exciting site. Kenyon did both. In the 1950s she went to the Biblical site of Jericho to look for the walls supposed to have been brought down by Joshua’s conquest. In fact, her excavations pushed back the accepted date of town life by at least 2000 years and resulted in the discovery of the Neolithic portrait skulls — the oldest known examples of realistic human portraiture. Readers at Emory may be interested to know that a few of her small finds are on display at the Carlos Museum. In addition, Kenyon’s excavations were instrumental in spreading what has become known as the Wheeler-Kenyon method to the Middle East, where it has continued to influence archaeological field work to the present day. Since publishing her book, Miriam has been thrilled to be able to speak at both the British Museum and the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem.
Since 1995 Miriam has taught at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. But this past year she traded in her title of Professor of History for that of Research Associate in order to move to Montgomery, AL to write popular history, work as a lecturer on history for Smithsonian tours and cruises in Europe, do some academic editing–and live with her husband who is Dean of Liberal Arts at Auburn University Montgomery. At present Miriam is working on a book about the Axeman of New Orleans, a serial killer who terrorized Italian grocers during World War I.