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Linda S. Braidwood (1909–2003)

Author of Digging Beyond the Tigris

Includes the names: Linda Braidwood

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Linda Braidwood, née Schreiber, was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in 1932. In 1937, she married Robert Braidwood, an archaeologist at the University of Chicago, with whom she would have two children, and accompanied him to work in the Amuq Valley in Syria that year. It was the beginning of their lifelong collaboration as pioneers in prehistoric archaeology. She earned a master's degree in archaeology from the University of Chicago in 1946. In 1947, with Halet Cambel, they established the Prehistoric Project at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago to study humankind's transition from hunting and gathering to farming. With a transdisciplinary team that included botanists, geologists, and zoologists, they traveled to northeast Iraq, where they uncovered what they described as the earliest known village, a settlement at Jarmo that dated to 6800 B.C., and discovered evidence of animal domestication and crop cultivation. They helped develop the modern approach to archaeological field work, with a painstaking recovery of fragmentary and nonartifactual remains, and were among the first to utilize radiocarbon techniques to date organic materials. In the 1960s, the Braidwoods went to work in Turkey, where Linda was a Fulbright Research Fellow. With researchers from Istanbul University, they explored sites in southeastern Turkey, and at Cayonu in 1964, they found an even older village, a farming community dating from 7250 to 6750 B.C. Among their important discoveries were the oldest known sample of human blood, the earliest example of hand-worked natural copper, and the oldest known piece of cloth. Linda Braidwood was a member of the editorial advisory board of the journal Archaeology from 1952 to 1967. She published extensively with her husband and other scholars as well as individual works, and was the author of the autobiographical Digging Beyond the Tigris (1953).
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