Saturday, 13 August 2016

Trowelblazers - Christian Maclaglan

She was "arguably the UK's first female archaeologist" according to Dr Murray Cook, who is leading a project to rediscover the broch she discovered and recorded in the 1870s. She is also one of the first to consider stratigraphy, and to draw cross sections of ruins, something that is absolutely basic to archaeological recording now. She was doing this five years before Pitt Rivers used the technique at Cranborne Chase, though he is generally credited with the introduction of the technique. She was, apparently, quite a talented artist, and left handed, as her right hand was affected by a bone disease.
The broch she recorded, at Livilands in Stirling, is thought to have been buried under garden landscaping.
The paper that Christian Maclaglan wrote, describing the broch, was not accepted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland because she was only a lady associate of the Society, not a Fellow - and only men could become Fellows. The paper was only accepted when it had been transcribed by a man. The Society first admitted women as Fellows in 1901, the year of her death.
So she donated important pieces of her research, on other brochs and monuments as well as the one at Livilands, to the British Museum rather than the Scottish Society. This included all the rubbings she had made of carvings on standing stones.
She was born in 1811, and died in 1901.

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