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Hot 20 2009: Amanda Adams, Archaeologist and Founder of Loki

Erik Almås

When Amanda Adams dreamed of being an archaeologist, she pictured something more Indiana Jones than library-locked academic. So when she saw the results of her year-long digs being transcribed into esoteric tomes that were bound to gather dust on college library shelves, she decided to start her own company with the aim of sharing her historical discoveries with a wider audience.

Loki (named for the Norse god of mischief) is an interpretive planning group that consults with the owners, designers and developers of archaeological sites in order to educate the public about a site’s history. For a project at a Minnesota county park, Adams worked with fellow archaeologists, native tribes and park planners to interpret the park’s discoveries (including artifacts that date back 8,000 years) to visitors. She also commissioned artists to help visually tell the story of the people who once resided there. “I get to dig my hands in the dirt, find the story and then tell that story in really creative ways,” she says.

Her passions for historical accuracy and whimsical storytelling have resulted in other successes as well: Her second book, Ladies of the Field: Pioneering Women Archaeologists and Their Search for Adventure (Greystone Books), comes out in spring and recounts the adventures of female archeologists of the Victorian era. “I wanted to make it dusty and sexy,” Adams says. “Stories of these trail-blazing women with knives hidden under their petticoats.”

Photo Assistance: Tom Hood and Audrey Rudolf. Styling: Jasmine Hamid. Styling assistance: Justin Segall. Hair + Makeup: France Pierson for Artist Untied. Costume National blouse ($329) at Designer Consigner, 415-440-8664. Safari hat, silk scarf and jodhpurs, all rented from ACT Costume Rental, 415-439-2379. Miss Sixty heels ($199) at Macy’s, 415-397-3333. Belt, stylist’s own.

Check out the other 2009 Hot 20.