Saturday, 19 November 2016

Trowelblazers - Blanche Williams

Here's another archaeologist who concentrated on Ancient Greece.

Blanche Williams studied archaeology, as well as Greek, Latin and art, at Smith University, where she became a friend of another trowelblazer, Harriet Boyd. After graduation, she taught Latin, Greek and English at her aunt's school in Providence, Rhode Island, and conducted tours of Europe with students.
In 1898, she visited Greece and Italy with Harriet Boyd and Mary Waring, and in 1900, she visited Crete, where she discovered a Bronze Age beehive tomb at Hierapetra. She presented her findings at a meeting of the Philadelphia Archaeological Institute, and so impressed them that they funded her 1901 and 1903 excavations.
In 1901, she worked with Harriet Boyd (a more experienced archaeologist) at Avgo, where she drew the maps of the site and the finds. Later they moved to Gournia, where they discovered an ancient Minoan complex. At its height, the dig employed 110 diggers, under the supervision of Harriet Boyd, who went on to dig the site over several seasons.
In 1904, Blanche got married, to Emile Francis Williams, an oriental rug importer from Boston. She wrote essays about Minoan archaeology, and contributed to a book about the Isthmus of Heiropetra in 1908, but did no more field work.
She died in 1936.

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