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Prof. Bakels celebrates half-a-century scholarship at Leiden University

Prof. C. Bakels is an archaeobotanist who devoted most of her career researching farming, its (pre)history and influence on the landscape. Born in 1942, she got her first appointment as a lecturer at Leiden University in 1968. On Monday 16 April, we celebrated her 50th work anniversary.

Dean Corinne Hofman offered Corrie Bakels flowers to celebrate the occassion.

An active scholar

Prof C. Bakels is an active emeritus professor at the Faculty of Archaeology. Last year, she published two peer-reviewed articles and edited one book - adding up to the more than 230 scientific articles and several books she already published. Currently she is running experiments at the Hortus Botanicus to ascertain the use of early manuring from measuring nitrogen isotopes of ancient crops. She is reconstructing landscapes during the post-Byzantine period in Jordan and she is also involved in cutting-edge research at Les Cott├ęs, France.

Promoting Leiden

Over her career she served Leiden and the academic world on many occassions. From 1986 to 1999, she was a member and later the president of the board of Archaeology -  Humanities division of the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (first ZWO, later NWO). In 2000, she took part in a Dutch diplomatic mission in Yemen and in 2009, she taught a complete course at the University of Shandong, Jinan, China, that strengthened the relations between Leiden and Shandong.

She has supervised more than 15 PhD students and nowadays is regularly acting at a replacement for the Rector Magnificus during Leiden PhD defences. She created and developed the archaeobotanical laboratory at the Faculty of Archaeology and served as interim Dean of the Faculty of Prehistory in 1982 and as Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology in 2000. She was and still is supervisor of several chairs created by the Leiden University Foundation (LUF). A few years ago, she created her own fund, the Bakels Fund, to foster research using natural sciences in Archaeology.

A pioneer and a modern woman

In 1988, Corrie Bakels became the first female professor in Archaeology in Leiden. It was a time when Leiden female professors were few and could easily sit around one small coffee table for their monthly meetings.

Additionally, she was the first female member of the Academische Raad (National Academic Council) and was appointed by Queen Juliana as the first female member of the National Monument Council (Section Archaeology) in 1980. She is keen on telling how some members of the Academic Council would just ignore her in the beginning of her term but that they quickly had to change their habits.

For her oil portrait, now hung in the senate chamber, she decided for a powerful pause like the one of The regentesses of the Old Men's Home in Haarlem painted in 1664 by F. Hals. She says she chose the artist R. van Schaardenburg for his bold touch.

- By Marie Soressi and Erica van Hees

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