In terms of pioneers for women in the field of archaeology, Harriet Boyd Hawes (Fig 1. ) has to be one of the greatest. She made great discoveries in her time as a field archaeologist and her records were exemplary for the time in which they were published. Classical archaeologists showed little or no interest in the uses for the objects they were discovering with the exception of Boyd who would greatly consider what her Cretan finds may have been used for (Trigger, 2006). In this essay I will briefly discuss the life and works of Boyd as well as why I feel she has made great contributions to modern archaeology. Fig. 1 Harriet Boyd Hawes Harriet Boyd is an American archaeologist who majored in Classics and was fluent in Greek. She carried out her graduate work at the American School of Classical studies in Athens which is where she originally requested to take part in the schools fieldwork, but as she was female this request was denied and it was advised that she become a librarian (Bois 1998). However, Boyd did not, thankfully, take this advice and began to travel around Crete on mule back, either alone or with a female friends, looking for prehistoric sites (Renfrew, 2008).
During the field season in 1900, she had moderate success in Kavousi, something which caught the attention of Sara Yorke Stevenson, secretary of American Exploration Society who was so impressed with Boyd’s work she offered the societies financial backing for her to continue her work in Crete (Zogby 1987). It was due to this that Boyd made her greatest discovery. In 1901, whilst carrying out excavation work in Crete, Boyd discovered a Bronze age site which is thought to have been occupied from as early as 3rd millennium BC to 1000 BC, thriving in the period 1800BC-1600BC (Zogby, 1987).
This was to be the first Minoan town site uncovered. Discoveries at the site include a small palace complex, more than 70 stone houses, with upper and lower levels (Fig 2. ), paved roads, bronze tools and a large amount of pottery. The visible ruins, including stone basins (Fig. 3) preserved in the area led to the town being named Gournia, the original name for the town is still unknown (Shaw, 1990). Work at the site carried from 1901-1904 (Renfrew, 2008), and resulted in Boyd being the first woman to direct major fieldwork, with a crew of approximately 100 men for excavating and around 10 women or washing the artefacts (Zogby, 1987). Fig. 2 Stone houses in the north-eastern corner of Gournia. Swindale, 1998. Boyd’s findings at Gournia were published in a greatly written and detailed manner with extensive illustrations in 1908, and was so inclusive of detail that it is consulted today which an aid to the dating of Minoan ceramics (Bois, 1998). The report was also one of the first of its kind to classify artefacts according to possible function rather than beauty (Renfrew, 2008).
Boyd was the first female to present her findings to the Archaeology Institute of America, as well as being the first to produce a significant monograph detailing archaeological work (Zogby, 1987). She also carried more excavations of Bronze and Ice Age settlements in the Aegean, becoming a recognised authority on the subject (Bois,1998). In 1906, Boyd married anthropologist, Charles H. Hawes, and although, sadly, she did not carry out any more fieldwork of her own, she did go on to have a notable career as a Archaeology instructor (Zogby, 1987).
Harriet Boyd Hawes, as she was now known, also went on to co-author “Crete, the Forerunner of Greece” with her husband. ? Fig. 3 One of many stone basins found which are thought to have led to name of Gournia.. Swindale, 1998 Many will think this is not as great contribution to modern archaeology as some others, and although they may be correct, it is important to remember that Boyd is female and it was virtually unheard of for a woman to carry out this type of work, which is something I feel is proven by the fact that people tried to discourage her from this type of work.
If she had done as advised and become a librarian, it is possible that Gournia would have never been discovered, which may have led to a delay in the availability of a good source with the ability to aid in dating of Minoan ceramics. If she had not carried out this work, she would not have become a teacher in the subject, and although I am aware she was not the only teacher at the time, there is a possibility that some those she was teaching may never have became interested in the subject, or thought it was possible to carry out fieldwork, especially if they were female.
In my opinion, Boyd made it more acceptable, if only slightly, for a woman to be interested and actively involved in the field of archaeology, something which is only now becoming more accepted. Who knows, if it wasn’t for Harriet Boyd Hawes, I may not have been able to study the course which I am, simply due to gender. References Bois, Danute. 1998. www. distinguishedwomen. com/biographies/haweshb. html. (last accessed 29/10/10) Renfrew, C and Bahn, P. 2008. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. London. Thames and Hudson
Shaw, J. W. 1990. Harriet Boyd and the Excavation of Gournia. Athena Review Vol. 3 No. 3. 17 Swindale, Ian. 1998. http://images. google. co. uk/imgres? =imgurl=http://www. uk. digiserve. com/mentor/minoan Trigger, Bruce, G. 2006. A History of Archaeological Thought. 2nd Ed. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press Unknown. 1904. http://images. google. co. uk/imgres? =imgurl=http://www. smith. edu/library/libs/archives/gallery/biography. htm Zogby, Elizabeth. 1987. www. dla. library. upenn. edu/dla/ead/EAD. html Vikki Cunningham