SPOTLIGHT: Archaeologist Doris Zemurray Stone | National Women’s History Month

“You may shoot me with your words.  You may cut me with your eyes.  You may kill me with your hatefulness.  But still, like air, I’ll rise.” – Mayo Angelou

This month we, as a country, celebrate the vital role women have played in American history.  Over the next couple of weeks, we will highlight the most notable female archaeologists and the roles they have played in shaping everyone’s history.   While, there are thousands of female archaeologists, we will spotlight the most notable ones.   These women have worked very hard and sacrificed so much to become the very best that they can be.   So, if you are a little girl or even a teen aspiring to be an archaeologist or something else, let these women give you inspiration.

Meet Doris Zemurray Stone.  Doris was an archaeologist and ethnographer, specializing in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, focusing specifically on the prehistory and ethnology of Honduras and Costa Rica.  Doris was born in 1909 to Russian immigrants of good fortune in New Orleans.  Her father, Samuel Zemurray, founded the Cuyamel Fruit Company just a year after Doris was born.  In 1917, the family moved to a 3 story mansion on St. Charles Ave facing Tulane University.  This would be the family home for the next 40 years (In the 1960s the home was transferred to Tulane and became the residence of the university presidents).

Doris attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts majoring in Anthropology then graduate school in archaeology.  Her studies were not without obstacles as women were not encouraged to seek graduate studies and were not always allowed in certain buildings on campus.  Doris went on to join the Department of Middle American Research at Tulane soon after graduation.

Doris pictured above with her father, Samuel.

Shortly before the start of WWII, Doris and her husband move to Costa Rica.  Doris would use Costa Rica as her base for the next 20 years.  Doris published works for both the professional community as well as the public and did so in both English and Spanish [learn more from online book, “Women in Archaeology“]

Doris returned to New Orleans after her father’s death and her husband’s retirement in 1961.  Doris, with her husband, went on to co-found the Stone Center for Latin America Studies at Tulane.  She died Oct. 21, 1994 at the age of 84.