This unique collection of pioneering women’s biographies includes not only field archaeologists, but also those who have been deeply involved in the discipline of archaeology: philologists, epigraphers, writers, artists, museum curators, professors, and fund raisers. Not surprisingly, most of these women were right in the middle of the archaeological process. This web project provides a broad view of how these women became major contributors to the field, at the same time crafting their own identities. The life stories of these women, their extraordinary intellectual and archaeological accomplishments, are provocative, for they transcended the cultures they lived in and, despite the struggles they faced, achieved much of enduring importance.

This project originated in 1994 as the inspiration of Professor Getzel M. Cohen of the University of Cincinnati and Professor Martha Sharp Joukowsky of Brown University. Volume I of Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists, published by the University of Michigan Presss in 2004, contains biographies of Jane Dieulafoy, Margaret Alice Murray, Gertrude Bell, Harriet Boyd Hawes, Edith Hall Dohan, Hetty Goldman, Gertrude Caton-Thompson, Dorothy Garrod, Winifred Lamb, Theresa Goell, Kathleen Kenyon, Esther Van Deman.

In Breaking Ground the impression may have been given that we have covered in full women active in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. This misconception could not be further from the truth, and that is why this web project is devoted to additional pioneering women and their lives. This was to become a dictionary and second volume of Breaking Ground, but it inevitably grew into a volume of encyclopedic proportions.

In 2003, Martha S. Joukowsky and Barbara S. Lesko, also of Brown University, decided that the stories of these many women should become a web-based project so that it could be accessed on the web and be available to worldwide readers. Taking each biography in turn, we edited them, created abstracts for each woman and keywords so that subject searches could be made. The contributions of French, German and Italian colleagues have been left in their original language, but their abstracts are presented in English. Surely we wish for more information on each subject and we invite you the browser or reader to add your comments and suggestions, perhaps supply photos, and correct any infelicities that may have crept into these portraits.

This web project was created in part because of our frustration with traditional publishing limitations of space, and we wanted this project to complement the book Breaking Ground by presenting the stories of additional archaeological women. We welcome future submissions. Our desire is also to have this database added to with additional biographies in future years. To attempt a book length manuscript would have burst the bounds of publication. It seemed sensible to create a web-based project also for more broad and detailed coverage, not only of each woman’s life, but also to give world wide viewers a glimpse of how these professionals looked in their time and place. The bibliography of each woman is presented without which, of course, her work would not be complete.

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Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists
Published by the University of Michigan Press, 2004