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Victoria MacEwen ©  2023

11th February 2023

Spotlight on Women and Girls in Science: Tatiana Proskouriakoff a true pioneer.

Tatiana’s life began in Tomsk in 1909, she moved to the USA in 1916 and in 1934 she gained American Citizenship and went on to study at the College of Architecture at Pennsylvania State University. Her love for the Mayan culture developed when she took part in two seasons of expeditions to Piedras Negras (Guatemala).  

She went on to contribute to the scientific world by proving that historical events were written on monuments by studying the inscriptions. This paved the way for many researchers to better understand the Mayan culture and what events they deemed as important enough to imortalise on the monuments.  It seems fitting that when she passed away in 1985 her ashes were interred at the expedition site that sparked her passions in life.  

Her training in architecture was utilised throughout her career, creating archaeological illustrations and reconstructions that have been immortalized in museums and publications. Her interest in Maya hieroglyphs significantly contributed to the understanding of the Mayan language, she discovered that there was a changing chronology of Maya sculpture that corresponded with historical, birth, death and accession dates for Maya rulers.

In 1958 she became honorary curator of Maya Art in the Peabody Musuem, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Whilst at the Peabody Musuem she researched and reported on over 1000 jade Mayan artefacts, her work has shaped our understanding of the Maya culture and political systems. The assemblage came from the Sacrificial Cenote at Chichen Itza, Yucatan. They were dredged between 1910 and 1917 by Edward Thompson and deposited at the museum. Many of the items were restored and while she was studying them Tatiana recognised that the Musuem back catalogue needed to be redone as it no longer accurately reflected the collection.  

Looking at monuments in detail led her to have insightful moments which built upon what is known about the Maya. For example, she theorised that there should be a stairway on one of the structures she was mapping, despite all around her not believing this notion she took a team and excavated the structure. Her intuition was correct, the structure did indeed have a stairway on the side.  

All of these achievements were made in a time where archaeology was a male dominant field, she would often be the only female on the site. She had no formal degree in Mayan studies or indeed archaeology, it was her architectural training and her beautiful illustrations that shone and proved to everyone that passion and curiosity can take you far in life. This is what makes Tatiana Proskuriakova an inspirations woman of science and archaeology.  

Photo Credit: Tatiana Proskouriakoff, when she worked for the Carnegie Institute of Washington, producing her famous reconstruction drawings

Image:  © Ms. Char Solomon, biographer of T. Proskouriakoff, and owner of the site the image is sourced from. Archaeologists You Should Know - Tatiana Avenirovna Proskouriakoff - Archaeological Institute of America  #internationalwomenandgirlsinstemday #internationalwomenandgirlsinscience #archaeologist #maya #peabodymuseum #jade

3rd March 2023

World Hearing Day- BSL Signs

We are celebrating World Hearing Day with a simple explanation of what archaeologists do in British Sign Language. If you like the recording and would like more content like this comment below. #worldhearingday #BSL #archaeology

21st March 2023

Online course introduction

We are introducing 3 online sessions which you can book to increase your undersanting of how to make archaeology inclusive.

Training session on Accessible Building Survey Guidance

29th May 10am to 1pm £30


Vision Loss Awareness training

22nd May 10am to 2pm £50

19th June 10am to 2pm £50

23rd July 10am to 2pm £50


Meaningful inclusion in archaeology

14th May 10am to 12pm

17th July 10am to 12pm



27th March 2023

World Autism Acceptance Week

What little quirks do you have? aren't we all a little neurodiverse?

For this World Autism Acceptance Week, I wanted to challenge you to really think about what you do and what strategies you have in place to cope with life. Everyone has some quirks so being disabled is nothing to be ashamed of or hide, we all need help sometimes, or have different ways of doing things. You have a right by law to have equal access to services than people who are not disabled. I for example need to pace myself to avoid exhaustion. This is a very common coping strategy for many people, not just those with my condition, the new mum trying to balance children and work, the nurse who is balancing family and work and many other people. The difference with my condition is that exhaustion can wipe me out for weeks at a time, whereas most people would feel rested with a night's sleep I do not have that ability. It is important that you treat people how you would like to be treated with empathy regardless of who they are or what conditions they have.

Why not take this simple quiz to find out how much you know about Autistic Spectrum Disorder? All results are anonymous.


1st April 2023

Stress Awareness Week

Mindful meditation for an archaeologist.

Mindful meditation is everywhere, just taking a few moments to breathe and settle yourself can be just what the doctor ordered to reduce stress and enable you to handle the day. As an archaeologist we are often working to tight timescales but there is always time to find a little me time. These mindful exercises have been developed by us to give you those few moments of calm you may need.

1) Doodle within the arrowhead- doodling can be a great mindful exercise, you can clear your mind of everything else and focus on the doodle you are doing. It does not have to be a work of art; in fact, it can be a series of lines and patterns. The focus here is to clear the mind to enable you to think clearly.

To begin with you will need to be in a space that you will not be disturbed in and take a few deep breaths.

You can then put the pencil or pen to the paper, you can either use our attached handaxe  or arrowhead designs or just use blank paper.

To make it more concentrated you can try to draw your doodle with one continuous line, this means not taking the pen off the paper for the duration of your doodle.

You should try to do this for 5 mins and then take some more deep breaths and reflect on your doodle.

This will help you to think more clearly and solve problems more efficiently.

2) Visualisation is a great tool for relaxation, you can visualise your favourite excavation, holiday destination or place.

To begin with you need to sit comfortably and be in a space that you will not be interrupted in.

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths

Begin to visualise the space that makes you happy, your favourite excavation or anywhere.

Think about how the ground feels under your feet.

Pay attention to the sounds that you can hear.

Focus on the smells of your favourite place, it could be salty sea air or metallic earth from an iron working site.

Replay your memories of the place, sit for 5 minutes or however long you would like to visualising this place.

When you are planning to finish imagining a white light covering the imagery, take a few deep breaths.

Slowly bring your awareness back to where you are and open your eyes.

This should relax you and help you to think clearly.

Download mindful arrow head and axe head here.