It’s the end of that glorious time of year, fieldwork season (ok, if you’re in the northern hemisphere…), but not everyone who trowelblazes does so in the dirt.

This summer we have been working non-stop to get the Raising Horizons project – our collaboration with photographer Leonora Saunders, supported by Prospect Union – ready to go, and we have loads of stuff we can finally share.
Edited to add: CROWDFUND LINK!

First, the project itself has developed in a few important ways.

  • We’ve expanded to multi-media: alongside the originally planned exhibition of photographic portraits of modern trowelblazers referencing historic women, we’ll also now be including oral histories- interviews focusing on the career experiences of the individuals featured in the portraits. This content will hopefully form the beginning of another longer-term TrowelBlazers project, creating an archive of women’s experiences in the geosciences.
  • Expanding the project means our timetable has shifted, and now have a launch date at the start of February 2017 for our first exhibition showing, which will be hosted by the Geological Society and Society of Antiquaries, at the amazing historic Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. Plus, there will also be an awesome launch party there!

    Burlington House. Image: Tony Hisge4 [CC BY 2.0 (h4p://], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Our list of supporting organisations has grown, and we now have the following wonderful sponsors:
    • Silver Trowel: Prospect Union
    • Bronze Trowel: Prehistoric Society, Harris Academy Bermondsey
    • Titanitum Trowel: Museum of London Archaeology, Arklu Toys, Past Horizons
    • Schools support: Palaeontological Association

We are still looking for more corporate/organisational sponsors, so please get in touch-there are some exciting rewards to be had!

We have also enlisted the support of many other brilliant organisations who will be helping us out in various ways, including the Chartered Institute for Archaeology, the Council for British Archaeology, Lapworth Museum, Palaeontological Association, British Science Association, Historic England, the British Academy, and many venues for the exhibition.

Our second major update: the Raising Horizons women! For the portraits, we’ve selected some really inspiring historic individuals, and paired them with a wonderful group of today’s trowelblazers, drawn from different fields, specialisms and career stages. We think they’re super-inspiring and we’re sure you’ll agree.

We’ve been desperate to share the identities of all the women, and finally we can reveal them! Well, actually we’re going to tease you a bit, with a new woman every day over the next couple of weeks.

Why are we teasing you with this?


Yes, despite writing tons of grant proposals and having some great sponsors, a Big Grownup Project like this requires serious financing, so we are turning to our incredible community to help us make Raising Horizons a reality.
In a couple of weeks we will be launching a major crowdfund campaign, and we need your energy to make it a success- we need you to help fund us, and then shout about it to everyone you know.

More details will be released nearer the time, but before then you can enjoy guessing who the rest of the women in the portraits will be.

The rest? Yes, because here is the first pairing!

Professor Dorothy Garrod…and Professor Nicky Milner


Dorothy Garrod, c. 1913, Newnham College. Image in public domain, via Wikipedia.

If you saw our teaser tweets, maybe you recognised the location – Newnham College, Cambridge.
Actually linked to many historic trowelblazers, Newnham is key in the history of archaeology as a discipline because it hosted Dorothy Garrod, one of the most important early archaeologists of the 20th century. Garrod was a pioneer in many ways, working on a huge number of sites through her career, and making finds of international importance right from the start, such as the Neanderthal child at Gibraltar.
She was forward-thinking in her keeness to collaborate, often with other women specialists, and she toughed out the academic world of the era with its male-only common rooms and sometimes aggressively anti-female atmosphere, becoming the first woman professor in any field at Oxbridge after many years teaching there.
Garrod’s work remains a foundation for many areas of prehistory today, particularly in the Near East but also in Britain, where she made a far-reaching study on the Palaeolithic, and created a new classification of tools from the later ice age, called the Creswellian (after Creswell Crags).

The end of the ice age, and the beginning of the Holocene (our current geological period), is where we find our connection with the contemporary trowelblazer who will be representing Garrod in the Raising Horizons portraits.


Professor Nicky Milner. Image used with permission.

Nicky Milner has been a Professor at University of York since 2012, and is currently Deputy Head of Department. She did her PhD at Cambridge, which used oysters, often found in some prehistoric midden sites, to determine seasonality of human activities. Since then, she has worked at several other institutions and developed her specialism in seasonality, including the project Coastal shell middens and agricultural origins in Europe, and has developed  analytical methods for analysing marine shells and  ways to look at diet in prehistory.
Like Dorothy Garrod, Nicky is interested in the big questions, and she hasn’t limited herself to one area. She’s also been directing new research on one of the most important Late Palaeolithic-Mesolithic sites in Europe, Star Carr, in Yorkshire. A seminal site – in all the textbooks – for many years, Nicky has applied new techniques and a new vision to understanding what is an entire preserved prehistoric landscape, focused on Star Carr. Most recently she was awarded a major European Research Council grant for this project, POSTGLACIAL.

Join in next week guessing the next pairing of women for Raising Horizons!


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