Courtesy of the Department of Archaeology, University of Newcastle

Bell’s archaeological excursions often took her deep into Bedouin territory. Her expeditions were constantly threatened by warring tribesmen and desert bandits. At the ruins of the palace of Ukhaydir, in modern Iraq, Bell’s bodyguards refused to put down their rifles to help her measure the building. In a letter to her mother, Bell complained that her measuring tape was “forever catching round the barrel or getting caught up in the stock [of a gun].”