Sunday, 3 May 2015

Trowelblazers - Jane Dieulafoy

Here she is, on a card in a series of famous explorers from 1885. The image is taken from Look and Learn.

I first found out about Jane Dieulafoy at a talk at EasterCon called Trowelblazers - mostly about female archaeologists, pioneers in the field who had been forgotten about.
She was an explorer, archaeologist, photographer, journalist and novelist. In archaeology she is best known for her excavations at Susa. Archaeological technique was in its infancy at the time, and she devised new techniques, monitored trenching excavations, mapped and labelled meticulously, and directed the efforts of hundreds of local men who were employed to dig the sites.

Here's a picture from Archyfantasies blog, of Jane at the excavations in Persia.

But her adventures had started before that. She also counts as a Woman Warrior. At the age of 19, she married Marcel Dieulafoy, who volunteered for the Engineering Corps on the French side in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Jane went with him, dressed in a soldier's uniform, and became a noted sharpshooter.
After the war, they travelled the Middle East, and excavated at Susa, sending several artefacts and friezes back to France. Two rooms in the Louvre are named after her, and the Lion frieze she sent back is displayed there. The French government made her a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1886 for her contributions to French archaeology.
While in the Middle East, she cut her hair short and wore male clothing for convenience, because it was difficult for women to travel freely in that region at the time. When she returned to France, she just carried on wearing men's clothing - which was illegal in France at the time. She, however, got special permission from the government.
She died in 1916.

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