Thursday, 10 December 2015

Trowelblazers - Elizabeth Anderson Gray

Strictly speaking, Elizabeth Anderson Gray was a geologist, rather than an archaeologist, but she did contribute greatly to the knowledge of the past in Scotland by her fossil collecting.

Here she is, looking at the rocks of Girvan, the area where she lived and did most of her collecting. She also introduced her two daughters, Alice and Edith, to the work, and they continued to work in the field after her death.
It was her careful record keeping of where the specimens were found that was important to the study of the Paleozoic in Scotland and fossils that she collected still remain important to the study of the Ordovician and Silurian periods today. She made sure that the importance of her finds was recognised by having them formally described by established scientists (who were all men, of course), though she was honoured by having some of the specimens named after her (in her married name) and in 1903 she was awarded the Murchison Geological Fund by the Geological Society of London for her lifelong contribution to early Paleozoic geological research. She was the first woman to be so honoured, and was 72 at the time. She continued collecting until 1923 and died in 1924.

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