In order to find out the truth about humanity’s deep past, you can’t be afraid of getting your skirts mucky. Nina Layard’s great desire to discover a Palaeolithic site in her home town of Ipswich was rewarded by many hours exploring her local gravel and clay pits for flint finds.

Although she may not have done all the digging herself, employing local workers instead, she didn’t stay safely at the edge of her site at Foxhall Road once she found it in 1902. This photo shows her getting down and dirty at the geological section of the pit, holding a pickaxe and handing one of the “exceptionally fine” bifaces she uncovered there.

Her discoveries at Foxhall Road were internationally important as they added crucial evidence to debates about whether humans had lived before or after the Ice Age. Although we have since found that there were more than 10 glacial periods since humans first lived in Britain nearly 1 million years ago, Nina Layard remains a true trowelblazer for prehistory.

Written by Becky (@LeMoustier)

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