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Skara Brae

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Skara Brae women archaeologists who were written out of history

An "excavation" on social media has provided names for four women shown in pictures of a dig in Orkney.

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drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd March 2019ce

Comments (3)

Been following this story as it developed, it was a brilliant example of social media working positively and collaboratively. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
24th March 2019ce
I suppose excavation reports tend to deal with levels, stratification, finds and suchlike. Sort of evidence of what was being dug. I have read Anne S. Robertson's fascinating book on her lengthy excavations at Castledykes - no names of other excavators are mentioned. I didn't expect them to be.

Rebecca Jones ultra-fine "Roman Camps of Scotland" rivals TMA for weightiness. But the referencing of other archaeologists is only done in respect of books they have written and papers they have presented which informed Jones's book. You find that kind of thing in Bibliographies...
R Gordon Childe's Skara Brae excavations were never about the diggers or how sandy or dirty their leather pumps got, their fashionable knitwear or their fetching cloch hats. The Skara Brae dig was not about women being "written out of history" either and this skewed article attempts to shame all of those excavators and archaeologists with a skewed backward glance. The endless retro-fitting narcissism, self-obsession and endless victim status of some people!

Hanson's Report on excavations at Elginhaugh ("A Roman Frontier Fort in Scotland Elginhaugh") doesn't focus on how amazing it was that Jenny Price and Sally Worrell could accurately date and trace the glassware found at the Dalkeith excavation. Not does Mr Hanson feel the need to do anything other than point to Camilla Dickson for her expert Pollen analysis report. Elizabeth Lazenby and Lorraine McEwan's drawings and plans are meticulous and expertly done. Why would they be anything else? If you read the small print the names of experts who came up with the various analysis reports and findings are right there along with the others involved. In the bibliography.

I trowelled and scraped on many a dig round here but you wont find I have been "written out of History" by not being pointed to in any of the reports nor have any of the many women and men, living and dead, who I dug with. It wasn't about us.
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
24th March 2019ce
Here are just four of the women present at the formal opening of Tutankhamun's Tomb but whose names have been erased from history!

Nina de Garis Davies (famous for her marvellous field sketches and meticulous drawings). Nina was there.A facsimile painting of her restoration of the frieze from the walls from the 'Green Room' in the North Palace at Amarna still hangs in the NY Met.

Nancy Lambert who married Egyptologist Reginald Engelbach was present. Howard Carter had asked them along and there was also a sort of picnic lunch at 12.30 close by Tomb 15.

Mrs Winifred Mabel Brunton (whose husband Mr Guy Brunton was Flinders Petrie's main digger) was also present.

Mrs Adelaide Allenby was also present and her son Horace was not present as he had been killed aged 18 in Flanders a few years earlier in WW1. No-one remembers him at all nowadays. After the picnic lunch at Tomb 15 it was Adelaide who actually formally opened the tomb along with Lord Carter, His Excellency the Mudi of Kena and Howard Carter. It makes one wonder why poor Adelaide has been written out of History like this. Erased. All peope remember nowadays is the shiny gold face mask!

But writing these women's names in a list puts right this historical crime of omission! When you see photos from back then you can spot the women quite easily. Previously those names were only in Howard Carter's diary. Now everyone can read them, remember them and think about them and their contribution to where we are now! Yay!
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
24th March 2019ce
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