Women in Provenance

Stanford University Archaeology Collections cares for over 100,000 cultural artifacts from around the world, dating from hundreds of thousands of years ago to the late 20th century. The Women in Provenance project intertwines object and personal biography to explore how gender shaped this cultural collection.

Through archival and historical work, the project will identify women named in our records, research their lives, and interpret their contributions in the context of Stanford’s institutional history and the broader history of archaeology, anthropology, colonialism, and gender. We will enrich SUAC’s basic provenance records (summaries of who owned an artifact) by creating a digital finding aid that helps users rediscover these overlooked women and the cultural collections they assembled. The project thus combines qualitative methodologies with computational pattern analysis to improve access to our aggregated provenance data—to the who, what, where, when, and how of our collection’s creation.

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