Move Over, 'Tomb Raider': Here Are 11 Pioneering Women Archaeologists

Whitney Battle-Baptiste

Pioneering Women Archaeologists Whitney Battle-Baptiste

(Image credit: University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Whitney Battle-Baptiste, an American historical archaeologist of African and Cherokee descent, combines archaeology, academics and activism, and her research examines the intersection of race, gender, class and sexuality as seen "through an archaeological lens," Battle-Baptiste wrote on her website. She is an important pioneer in reconstructing and interpreting life for African Americans through exploration of African American family homesteads and domestic spaces of enslaved Africans. In her book "Black Feminist Archaeology" (Left Coast Press, 2011), Battle-Baptiste proposed improving modern practices of historical archaeology through principles of Black feminism, and challenges the field of archaeology to develop greater sensitivity toward questions of gender and race.

(Image credit: Sovfoto/UIG/Getty)

Can't get enough of the amazing achievements of women in archaeology, past and present?

This list represents just a fraction of the women who revolutionized the field, and who continue to make their mark today. But if you want to dig even deeper, you can find many more examples at the websites Trowelblazers and the Society of Black Archaeologists — pay them a visit to learn more.

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science Contributor

Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.  Her book "Rise of the Zombie Bugs: The Surprising Science of Parasitic Mind Control" will be published in spring 2025 by Johns Hopkins University Press.