The first women archaeologists were Victorian era adventurers who felt most at home when farthest from it. Canvas tents were their domains, hot Middle Eastern deserts their gardens of inquiry and labor. Thanks to them, prevailing ideas about feminine nature — soft, nurturing, submissive — were upended. Ladies of the Field tells the story of seven remarkable women, each a pioneering archaeologist, each headstrong, smart, and courageous, who burst into what was then a very young science. Amanda Adams takes us with them as they hack away at underbrush under a blazing sun, battle swarms of biting bugs, travel on camelback for weeks on end, and feel the excitement of unearthing history at an archaeological site. Adams also reveals the dreams of these extraordinary women, their love of the field, their passion for holding the past in their hands, their fascination with human origins, and their utter disregard for convention.