Tag Archives: women in archaeology

Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month

Today is September 1, 2015.  This is kickoff day for the Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month throughout Tennessee from Bristol to Memphis and Mitchelville to Ardmore.  As is usually the case, the charge this year is being led by the fine folks at the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology (TCPA).  You can check out the scope of the planned festivities at the following two links:



The festivities this year include the 2.0 version of the Tennessee Archaeology Blogfest (formally titled 30 Days of Tennessee Archaeology). Last year’s blogfest was enormously interesting and informative, gaining Southeastern Archaeological Conference attention, and my personal intuition strongly suspects that the 2015 blogfest will be even better than the one last year. Tennessee archaeologists put a lot of energy and care into writing these daily blog posts and illustrating them, so be sure and check for a new blog post on Tennessee archaeology each day throughout September.

If you prefer to sample Tennessee archaeology firsthand in the real world rather than in cyberspace, a list of archaeological events in a Tennessee town near yours has been developed for your inspection.  Please take a look at the list of scheduled events at the second TCPA link above, identify one that fires your imagination, gather up the family, hop in your vehicle, and head on over for a fun and interesting day of archaeological activities, sights, and sounds.

I would like to end by saying that American archaeology and Tennessee archaeology, for all practical purposes, were predominantly “male only” clubs in the 19th century and throughout most of the 20th century.  In spite of Jimmy Griffin and his recommendation against hiring a woman, our own Madeline Kneberg became one of the first women to begin flipping over that all-male apple cart here in Tennessee.  Many other women archaeologists, such as my close friend Dr. Patricia Cridlebaugh and our very own Dr. Lynne Sullivan, have followed in her footsteps throughout Tennessee over the past 46 years. Here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog, we are strong supporters of feminist archaeology and the many women who are active in Tennessee archaeology today.  As the 2015 Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month proceeds, I hope each of you will stop and take special notice of the many women who are making excellent contributions to the archaeology of the Volunteer State.  In doing so, I also hope the many girls in Tennessee public and private schools (K-12) will be inspired by their work and know that they too can have their own place at the table one day in Tennessee archaeology and be both welcomed and appreciated for the work they do.  Times will continue changing, and the future is yours girls.  You are an agent of change simply by being YOU.  Go for it!!!

Feminine Voices in Archaeology Blog has “New Digs”

The unique and excellent blogspot Feminine Voices in Archaeology has moved its home base over to WordPress.  This is happy news indeed for me, and it will be for you too.  Their old blog service was so cantankerous that I was unable to succeed in leaving a single comment on a main post, despite trying very hard on several different occasions across a 6-month period.  It is my understanding that others have had the same trouble.  Those days are over now.  WordPress is like a breath of fresh air, and I was able to post a comment easy as pie at Feminine Voices in Archaeology last night.  It was a breeze!!!  Therefore, I hope that you will visit their new blogspot at the following URL:


 The following is the salient quote from the “About” section of their blog:

“Despite the growth and success of feminist archaeology, women in archaeology still face issues not necessarily encountered by their male counterparts in the 21st Century. Legacies of past discrimination, particularly the perceived and/or actual demands of family life, have resulted in disproportionate fewer women working at research institutions in many disciplines, including archaeology. This disturbing trend has profound implications for not only the direction of current archaeological research, but also the training of future scholars.

This blog is a forum for advocating for women archaeologists so that we can move beyond legacies of inequity to a future that strengthens a feminine voice in archaeology and a feminist perspective. We contend that the very practice of archaeology is skewed towards a masculine and hierarchical perspective that excludes consensus building and “minority opinions” when interpreting the past. We argue that the feminine voice brings unique and necessary elements to the discipline of archaeology, through values such as mentoring and collaboration. We also clarify that a feminist perspective is not limited to any one gender, class, race, ethnicity or sexuality. Rather a feminist perspective is a radical point of view; one that recognizes that women’s success professionally and personally is integrally tied to larger socio-political movements dedicated to the eradication of homophobia, racism, and androcentrism.

Our hope is to solicit advice, perspectives, and experiences from all realms of the archaeological profession- including tenure-track and adjunct faculty, CRM professionals, and those not currently employed or underemployed. The ultimate goal of the blog is to shift the realities of power experienced in the daily lives of women archaeologists by discussing, inventing and offering solutions to the challenges of professional life.”

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog is now and plans to remain a strong advocate for Feminine Voices in Archaeology and all of the women archaeologists who own and operate this blog.  It has 158 regular followers now, which means that every time a new primary post is made to the blog, all 158 people get a courtesy e-mail notification of the posting.

A British colleague of mine who specializes in archaeology and the media tells me that only about 10 percent or less of archaeology blog visitors actually leave comments on a post they read or use the comments feature to have real back and forth discussions with blog owners and other readers about the posted topics.  This has been our experience here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog, and it appears to also be the case at the feminine voices blog.  We get scads of visitors and views, but most of the folks who visit and view behave like mindless zombies in an episode of The Walking Dead.  If archaeology blogs were graduate seminars in archaeological method and theory, most of you would get your letter grade marked down to a “C” for lack of classroom participation.  One of the things I like about the Feminine Voices in Archaeology blog is that the primary posters and those few who comment on posts are not afraid to “tell it like it is” about how women are often mistreated in American archaeology.  We can all continue to pretend that nothing is wrong in the halls of archaeology, but we all know that is a damned lie as we send former students out to work in backbreaking  field jobs for pay that would barely support a church mouse, much less a household and a family.  The whole concept of a “household” in any traditional sense is a pipe dream for many people working in CRM.  All is not well in American archaeology, and it really never has been.  However, nothing will ever change as long as people sit huddled in their little puddles of “professional fear” and keep their mouths shut like good little zombies.  A blog like Feminine Voices in Archaeology gives you a chance to air and discuss these issues in a nonjudgmental and safe atmosphere.  Furthermore, on WordPress blogs, you are not required to use your actual name in commenting on a post.  You can use a fictitious name like “Rubber-handled Trowel.”  So, give it a try.  You might just make the world a better place.  Change starts with one raised voice.

Feminine Voices in Archaeology

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog takes this opportunity to announce that it fully and wholeheartedly supports the many women who have chosen to practice professional archaeology and legitimate avocational archaeology here in Tennessee, in the United States, and throughout the world.  We know that issues of discrimination have existed in the past and that some of those issues persist today.  In addition, we recognize that women archaeologists have other significant issues and concerns with regard to their private lives and how those concerns intersect with the many demands placed on archaeologists today. 

Recently, while cruising the worldwide web, we ran into an interesting and fairly new blog that was created in early 2012.  The name of this blog is Feminine Voices in Archaeology, and it was created to be a central meeting place where women archaeologists could gather on-line, voice their concerns about various issues, and seek effective solutions to the problems that crop up at the interface between their lives and the world of archaeology.  The Archaeology in Tennessee blog supports the stated purposes of this new blog and would like to encourage women archaeologists in Tennessee and elsewhere to visit it and actively participate by presenting your own ideas, thoughts, concerns, and experiences for discussion.  You do not have to post your real name to do that.  You can post anonymously or by using a made-up “handle name,” and no subject of concern is too great or too small.  The URL for this new blog is as follows: