Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Blazing Trowels

Sally Binford helped to revolutionise archaeology Sally Binford helped to revolutionise archaeology TrowelBlazers
08 Apr
2015
Dinosaur shoes, gender equality and geography combine in a unique archival project

TrowelBlazers is an archival project that looks at the historical role of women in the earth sciences, archaeology and geography, with the aim to change perceptions about these traditionally male-dominated careers.

‘Lots of people may have heard of Dorothy Garrod, the first female professor in the UK. How many people know that she led all-female expeditions?’ says Brenna Hasset, a bioarchaeologist who co-founded TrowelBlazers.

‘There are amazing stories just under the surface,’ she says. ‘Yusra was a local Palestinian worker who sifted finds on a dig. She found a Neanderthal fossil.’

The discovery, a skull, was an important find in 1932. So far very little is known about Yusra (even her surname is unknown), although she is now credited as the object’s discoverer on the Smithsonian website.

TrowelBlazers has had more success tracing other archaeologists, circulating photos over social media for identification.

‘How do we do it? We do it by being insanely connected all the time. We’re basically a hydra-headed anarchistic collective. Not anarchists, but anarchistic,’ says Hasset.

B acCH1WQAA13z-There’s a dinosaur on my shoe (Image: TrowelBlazers)

The project started as a Tumblr blog, which has been built up to 100 posts. Posts come twice a week, usually from guest contributors. So far the group has gathered 4,000 followers on Tumblr, and around 4,000 likes on Facebook.

TrowelBlazers also goes beyond archival research. The group has joined campaigns to see women scientists represented in Lego sets, and most recently put pressure on a national chain of shoe shops.

The campaign started when a schoolgirl wanted a pair of dinosaur print shoes at her local shoe shop, but was told there were none for girls, says Hasset. TrowelBlazers launched the Twitter hashtag #inmyshoes to collect photos of women scientists at work in boots, trainers, and every shoe type in between.

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in PEOPLE...

Cultures

In an epic new book from traveller and curator Susan…

Development

Massive scientific investment has now identified the primary threats to…

Development

The Chinese government aims to put a ‘social credit system’…

Development

A new green cemetery in Paris indicates the growing desire…

I’m a Geographer

How the best-selling author is making complex matters of geography…

Cultures

From 26 October, tourists will no longer be able to…

I’m a Geographer

Ed Stafford is a former British army captain who became…

Development

As the world’s attention focuses on the protests in Santiago,…

Development

Vast quantities of sand are being deposited along a stretch…

Development

The world’s first hydrogen-powered boat to tour the world, Energy…

Cultures

An experiment that asked different sized groups to invent a…

Explorers

Commemorating a mining tragedy that shocked the nation a decade…

Development

Scientists at the Plastic Health Summit taking place in Amsterdam…

Cultures

Canadian researchers have found that plastic tea bags, common to…

Development

The settlement of Hasankeyf, dating back thousands of years, will…

Development

We took to the streets of Westminster to take a…

Development

The British government today announced a new aid package to…

Explorers

In this unique and enthralling new book, explorer and survivalist…

I’m a Geographer

Dan Richards is an artist and a writer. His fourth…