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238

Marshall Saville

OLogy Series
ologist
card
238

Marshall Saville

OLogy Series
ologist

Over 100 years ago, an archaeologist named Marshall Saville began exploring ancient ruins in Mexico. While in high school, Saville met a local collector of rare artifacts, who inspired him to pursue a career in archaeology. He brought lots of artifacts about the Zapotec culture back to the American Museum of Natural History.

Saville's father was a:

professional hockey player

scientist

railroad worker

Are you right?

Correct!

Saville's dad helped build railroads in the United States. Saville was the oldest of five children.

Some of Saville's most important finds were tombs made by the ancient Zapotecs. He discovered these tombs:

in underwater caves

hidden in dense forests

underneath the ruins of abandoned buildings

Are you right?

Correct!

These stone tombs contained funeral urns depicting men, women, and sometimes animals. These tombs and their contents have improved our understanding of Zapotec burial practices.

Marshall Saville had to get permission to collect artifacts in Mexico.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

All scientists must get permission from local governments before they collect things in the field. Saville was granted the right to do archaeological excavations in Mexico.

When Saville excavated ancient tombs in Mexico, he discovered that Zapotec tombs were often used as family burial crypts.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Saville discovered that some tombs had several people buried inside of them. He also found tombs containing human bones that were painted with red paint.

Dates: 1867-1935
Hometown: Rockport, Massachusetts
Education: Harvard University
Job: first curator of Mexican and Central American archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History (1901-1907)
Known for: research on Mexican and Central American culture
Cool find: a life-size terra-cotta figure of an ancient warrior dressed in armor of quilted cotton

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH.