2012 was another great year in headlines and discoveries for women’s history. Some myths were busted, while others where upheld. But most importantly, new discovery leads to new learning and understanding of the contributions of women to world history. Here is a recap of Chick History’s favorite headlines from the year.
10. Remains of Jane Austen's Steventon Home Unearthed
Archaeologists in Hampshire uncovered signs of the house where Jane Austen spent more than half of her life. This was exciting because so little of Jane Austen’s life and world remains. Her sister burnt so many letters and few portraits of her exist. While her publications have become eternal and universal, so little of the real Jane Austen is known so anything tangible about her world is exciting news.
9. Mary Todd Lincoln Not Mary Todd Lincoln
Busted! A famous portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln that was hanging in the governor’s mansion in Illinois is a fraud. The painting, which is a portrait of a woman from the 19th century, was sold to the descendants of the Lincoln Family in the 1920s by a con man named Ludwig Pflum, a.k.a. Lew Bloom. Since then everyone thought it was Mrs. Lincoln until a conservator who was cleaning it uncovered the truth.
8. Naked Female Gladiator Statue Found
Not really found this year, but declared this year that a statue of a naked gladiator is depicting a woman. This was great because it brings to light more evidence of the roles women played in the gladiator rings and in Ancient Rome. If you want to read my take on who she might have been, you can check out my post on the find here.
7. Will the Real Mona Lisa Please Stand Up
This is simply fantastic and I've been following this item all year. Italian archaeologists are on the hunt for the remains of the real Mona Lisa, a.k.a. Lisa Gherardini. They have located the tomb in a church and have found a couple of bodies, but nothing conclusive yet. It’s going to be great because the plan is to reconstruct the face and compare it to the portrait. We all wait with baited breath!
6. Madagascar Founded by Women
Taken straight from the article: “Madagascar was first settled and founded by approximately 30 women, mostly of Indonesian descent, who may have sailed off course in a wayward vessel 1200 years ago. The discovery negates a prior theory that a large, planned settlement process took place on the island of Madagascar, located off the east coast of Africa."
5. Medieval Archaeology Just Got Naughty
It’s been a long time since someone’s panties made the world this excited. In an Austrian castle, a research team found the remains of lady undergarments that date back to the 15th century. It’s got the late Medieval world turned on its head as the discovery sheds new light on women’s fashion of the time period. The long held belief was that bras and panties were not introduced to the world until the 17th century in the French Court.
4. Island of the Blue Dolphins Woman Found
I grew up reading the children’s novel “Island of the Blue Dolphin” and this discovery brought back so many memories. After a twenty-year hunt to find the actual home of the “Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island,” scholars believe they have found it. Christianed Juana Maria when she was taken to the mainland, the last remaining member of the Nicoleño tribe lived on San Nicolas Island by herself for almost twenty years.
3. Amelia Earhart is Still Lost
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past year, then you all know the results from the TIGHAR Institutes $2.2 million dollar sea search came up empty. In a nutshell, these guys have been looking for Amelia for years and think she lived as a castaway on a remote island after her plane went down. They even have cold cream jars and “poop” they say belonged to her. They were convinced an old photo showed her plane wreckage, but after the search this summer, they still found nothing. In related news, this guy thinks Amelia Earhart was captured by the Japanese and died a POW.
2. Aztec Women Buried With Thousands of Bones
This was a first for Aztec Archeaology. An Aztec woman dating back to the 15th century was found buried with almost 2,000 skeletons and bones surround her. This is atypical of Aztec culture, who usually cremated their nobility and did not bury them with human sacrifices.
1. Women Competing in All Countries at Olympics
And the number one headline for 2012 was when history was made this year when all competing nations in the Olympics had female athletes represented.
Bonus: Lots of bling was found this year in graves. Remember, always be buried in your bling. Here’s two of my favorites: