Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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A Gentleman Scholar Volume 54 Number 3, May/June 2001
by Stephen E. Nash

Cultured, urbane, and a tireless excavator, Paul Sidney Martin was a pillar in the development of American archaeology.

Without this curiosity and knowledge about the past we would be like people without memory--vegetables and morons.

--Paul Sidney Martin, 1958

[image] Martin with his dog Spot at field camp near Reserve, New Mexico, in 1954. (The Field Museum, Chicago, IL) [LARGER IMAGE]

For more than four decades, the linear figure and often anxious countenance of Paul Sidney Martin (1899-1974) graced the anthropology department's third-floor honeycomb of offices and storerooms at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. For all intents and purposes, he was the department, single-handedly excavating nearly half its collection. Martin's boundless energy was matched by his conviction of the importance of the past and his devotion to studying and understanding it. But he was not a zealot convinced of his own unerring rightness and was always willing to rethink his own work or embrace innovations. His professional commute was on two memorable American roadways--Chicago's fashionable Lake Shore Drive in winter and the Southwest's Route 66 in summer--and his list of accomplishments reads like a road map to a better understanding of the prehistoric Southwest.

Stephen E. Nash is head of collections in the department of anthropology at The Field Museum.

© 2001 by the Archaeological Institute of America