Trude Dothan, née Krakauer, was born to a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria. Her father Leopold Krakauer was an artist and architect, and her mother Grete was a painter. When she was a baby, the family emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine. She began her study of archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she earned an M.A. and then a Ph.D. with a dissertation called The Material Culture of the Philistines. It was eventually published in 1982, and is considered one of the primary resources for the study of the Philistines and other Sea Peoples. In 1951, Trude married Moshe Dothan, a fellow archaeologist with whom she had two children. She was the youngest field archaeologist to take part in the excavations at Hazor (1955-1958) directed by Yigael Yadin, a watershed event for Israeli archaeologists. Later she co-directed the excavations at En Gedi and at Athienou on Cyprus. She led the excavations at Deir el-Balaḥ, and from 1981 to 1996, she co-directed the Albright/Hebrew University excavations at Tel Miqne-Ekron. She became a professor at Hebrew University, where she was named to the Eliezer L. Sukenik Chair of Archeology in 1985, and was the first director of the Berman Center of Biblical Archaeology. Her other books included
People of the Sea: Search for the Philistines (with Moshe Dothan, 1992), and Deir el-Balah: Uncovering an Egyptian Outpost in Canaan from the Time of the Exodus (2008). She was awarded the Israel Prize for Archaeology in 1998 and the Israel Museum's Percia Schimmel Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Archaeology of the Land of Israel in 1991.