Breaking Ground

Pioneering Women Archaeologists
Getzel M. Cohen and Martha Sharp Joukowsky, Editors
Biographies of twelve often-overlooked woman archaeologists


This book presents twelve fascinating women whose contributions to the development and progress of Old World archaeology—in an area ranging from Italy to Mesopotamia—have been immeasurable. Each essay in this collection examines the life of a pioneer archaeologist in the early days of the discipline, tracing her path from education in the classics to travel and exploration and eventual international recognition in the field of archaeology. The lives of these women may serve as models both for those interested in gender studies and the history of archaeology because in fact, they broke ground both as women and as archaeologists.

The interest inherent in these biographies will reach well beyond defined disciplines and subdisciplines, for the life of each of these exciting and accomplished individuals is an adventure story in itself.

Getzel M. Cohen is Professor of Classics and Director of the Tytus Visiting Scholars Program at the University of Cincinnati. He is also Director of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies.

Martha Sharp Joukowsky is Professor of Anthropology at Brown University and Director of the Brown University Center for Old World Archaeology and Art and the Brown University Petra Great Temple Excavations.

Praise / Awards

  • "At the close of the Victorian era, two generations of intrepid women abandoned Grand Tour travel for the rigors of archaeological expeditions, shining the light of scientific exploration on Old World antiquity. Breaking Ground highlights the remarkable careers of twelve pioneers—a compelling narrative of personal, social, intellectual, and historical achievement."
    —Claire Lyons, The Getty Museum

  • "Behind these pioneering women lie a wide range of fascinating and inspiring life stories. Though each of their tales is unique, they were all formidable scholars whose important contributions changed the field of archaeology. Kudos to the authors for making their stories and accomplishments known to us all!"
    —Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  • "Integral to this anthology is the considerable research the contributors weave into the principal biographies. We learn about many other archaeologists, women and men, as the behind-the-scenes narratives unfold, while footnotes at the end of each chapter offer interesting digressions. How useful this anthology will be as an inspiration to future archaeologists, adventurers, and travelers."
    Bloomsbury Review

  • "These life stories of 12 innovative 19th- and 20th-century women scientists . . . contribute to a powerful larger story of the history of western science and the gender relations operating within in."

  • "This collection allows us to see networks of women and their regional legacies better than [other collections]..."
    American Journal of Archaeology

  • "It is rare to be able to say on reviewing a volume such as this that one has read every word of it, but in this case, I have, and I would even add that doing so was no hardship"
    —Bettina Arnold, Current Anthropology

  • "This is a fascinating and thought-provoking book on many levels."
    —Ingrid Edlund-Berry, Amphora

  • "Breaking Ground's greatest value lies in demonstrating, through highlighting the contributions of neglected and marginalized female archaeologists, that archaeology is not, and was not even in its earliest days, exclusively a masculine enterprise. The volume achieves this with grounding in archival sources, carefully cited and thereby put at this disposition of the scholarly community. In accordance with the proposed goals, the project was successful...This volume gives an important contribution to the field of biographical writing in anthropology, of particular interest to those pursuing archaeological, feminist, and gender studies. A number of fascinating and admirable persons are brought to our attention, and thus revitalized, they can re-enter the anthropological arena in new discussions."
    —Elisabeth Arwill-Nordbladh, University of Gothenburg, Reviews in Anthropology

Look Inside

Copyright © 2004, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6.125 x 9.25.
  • 616pp.
  • 1 drawing, 9 maps & 47 B&W photograph section.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2004
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11372-9

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  • $104.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2006
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03174-0

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  • $38.95 U.S.

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