The Untold Stories of Archaeology’s Women

By Brenna Hassett, Suzanne Pilaar Birch, Rebecca Wragg Sykes, and Tori Herridge

Stories of pioneering women in the “digging” sciences have been skewed toward those who were White, wealthy, and networked. The TrowelBlazers project aims to reset our imagination—and our future.

For Women’s History Month, it has become traditional to rifle through the great names of the past, pluck out a few that strike the imagination and have the appropriate gender marker, and dust them off for a new audience. We should know—we run the TrowelBlazers project, a largely community-sourced archive of biographies of women in the “digging” sciences: archaeology, geology, and palaeontology.


Zoom talk this Wednesday

I will be speaking as part of Félag fornleifafræðinga’s New Research in Icelandic Archaeology (Nýjar Rannsóknir í Fornleifafræði) series this Wednesday at noon Iceland time (8AM EDT). Zoom details will be posted at the link above. Hope to see you there!

Poster advertising my talk; includes a photo of me and the abstract.

Tiny Houses: Small Dwelling Sites during the Settlement Period
Recent research on Hegranes in Skagafjörður has revealed numerous very small dwelling sites dating to the Settlement period. The sites were depopulated by the early 12th century, and while they included a wide range of productive activity, they do not fit easily into existing categories of specialized, seasonal camps or standalone farms. This talk will present an overview of the findings, and will discuss the sites in the context of Icelandic archaeology and the broader medieval Norse world. Small dwelling sites appear to have played a transient but critical role in both the settlement process and the transformation of the Icelandic landscape, as part of a distributed network of farm and non-farm dwellings. 

Happy holidays!

This might just be my best attempt yet at an Icelandic layer cake!

Wishing you all the best for the holidays and the oncoming year.

3D model of ring-pin from Kotið

One of the most interesting finds from Kotið during test excavations in 2016/2017 was this bone ring pin, from a context dating to the late 9th or early 10th century. At only 7cm long, this pin is shorter than most bone pins found in Iceland, which are usually at least 10cm long. The point is slightly off-center, which suggests the pin may have been broken and re-sharpened before it was finally discarded. Pins like this were usually used to fasten cloaks or other items of clothing.

Last fall, I collaborated with digital artist Theresa Schlag to produce this 3D model of the pin, based on 360° photos taken shortly after the excavation. The model has a lot of cool features, including full-screen view and the ability to move the light source, so please click around and play!