American Egyptologist best known for his well‐recorded excavations. Born in Indianapolis, he attended Harvard University to study law but soon transferred to study Semitic languages. He won a scholarship that allowed him to travel to Berlin, and here he met the Egyptologist Kurt Sethe, who fired his interest in the topic. On returning to Harvard he took up a lectureship in the School of Semitic Languages. In 1897 he was invited to join an international team compiling a catalogue of material in the Cairo Museum, and from this time on he spent much of his time in Egypt. In 1910 he became curator of the Department of Egyptian Art at the Boston Museum, and by this time he had already started excavations in Egypt. He was a methodical excavator who prided himself on the records he kept. His early work focused on Qift, Deir el‐Ballas, and Naga ed Deir. Later he worked at Giza to explore the enclosure of the Third Pyramid, his most sensational discovery being the burial of Queen Hetepheres, mother of Cheops. Reisner directed an archaeological survey of Nubia in 1907 when the first Aswan Dam was raised, and from 1916 to 1923 he explored the pyramids of Meroe in the Sudan. He died in Cairo after suffering from increasing blindness over many years.
American National Biography, 18, 328–9