History’s forgotten ‘Lara Crofts’ brought to life by exhibition

‘Trowel-blazing’ women who transformed the world of archaeology, palaeontology and geology are the subject of an eye-catching photographic exhibition at The Oxfordshire Museum.

Raising Horizons celebrates the pioneering but often unrecognised women who made key contributions to the development of the Earth Sciences.

Part of a series of events marking 100 years of women’s suffrage, it features inspiring portraits of women working in the field today, posing as their trailblazing historical counterparts in ‘imagined’ moments in time.


Influential figures such as Mary Leakey, the paeleoanthropologist who made huge contributions to the study of early hominids, and ground-breaking 19th Century geologist Charlotte Murchison, are represented in images based on original photographs, memoirs and fieldwork diaries.

The achievements of the women range from discovering footprints nearly a million years old, reconstructing Antarctica’s lost forests, and training virtually a whole generation of archaeologists.

Evolving sciences

The related heritage fields of archaeology, palaeontology and geology were initially of mostly wealthy individuals some 200 years ago, evolving into the investigative sciences of today.

Audience Development Officer at The Oxfordshire Museum Lorraine Horne said: “While many of the renowned figures in these fields throughout the past two centuries are men who are rightly celebrated for their work, there are huge numbers of largely unrecognised women who also made key contributions, right from the start.

“This is a really thought-provoking exhibition and a great way to celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage with our visitors.”

Raising Horizons will be at The Oxfordshire Museum until 20 April. Entrance to the exhibition and museum is free.

Talk details

There is also an opportunity to attend a talk from one of the creators of this inspiring project. TrowelBlazers & Raising Horizons

Takes place on 14 April at 2pm. Tickets £8. Booking line T: 01993 814106


Raising Horizons is the result of a collaborative partnership between Leonora Saunders, renowned photographer and artist focusing on themes around gender equality, and TrowelBlazers, an organisation founded by Rebecca Wragg Sykes, Brenna Hassett, Suzanne Pilaar Birch, and Victoria Herridge, specialising in highlighting the contributions of women in the fields of archaeology, palaeontology and geology.

It is supported by Prospect, the UK’s trade union for scientists and heritage professionals, and a number of other organisations.