Olwen Brogan, née Kendall, studied Roman civilization and Roman archaeology at University College London. She learned excavation techniques under the renowned Mortimer Wheeler at the sites of Verulamium and Caerleon. In the 1930s, she participated in digs at the hill fort reputed to be the site of Gergovia in Gaul (present-day France). She married historian Denis Brogan (later Sir Denis, making her Lady Brogan), with whom she had four children. She joined the faculty of University College London, and after World War II, took part in British archaeological work on Roman sites in the Libyan desert. She was a founder of the Society for Libyan Studies and the first editor of its annual Report, now the Journal of Libyan Studies. After her first husband died in 1974, she married Charles Hackett. She was awarded the OBE in 1976.