Saturday, 22 October 2016

Trowelblazers - Harriet Boyd Hawes

Harriet was an American teacher with a modest inheritance who decided to go to the source of Greek history and discover it for herself. She had studied Classics at college, but was not interested in the more usual career path for ladies of librarian or museum curator. In 1896, she enrolled in the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, but the school would not send her out to do field work.
So she set out on her own to Crete to find a site and dig it, getting all the necessary permissions herself, and talking to local farmers and villagers to help her to decide where to dig, with the help of local workers.
Her first site was a tomb, and she went on to teach Greek archaeology back at Smith College, Massachusetts, where she had studied, while returning for further seasons in Crete, mainly at Gournia, a Minoan village of 70 houses and an acropolis. She was the first archaeologist to discover and completely excavate an Early Bronze Age Minoan town site. She recieved her MA from Smith College in 1901, and an honorary doctorate in 1910.
She married Charles Henry Hawes, a British anthropologist and archaeologist who she met in Greece, in 1906. Charles went on to become associate director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. She and Charles wrote a book together; "Crete: The Forerunner of Greece" and she continued to teach. They had two children.
She was also active in nursing during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and the First World War.
She died in 1945, aged 73.

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