Project Manager, Special Projects

Conservation image

It was only after leaving Massachusetts to attend a small college in Athens, Greece, that Martha Demas developed an interest in the past that would ultimately lead her to conservation. Her two years in Greece introduced her to archaeology, and when she transferred to the University of New Hampshire, her studies focused on Greek literature and history. She went on to earn a master's degree in classics at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in archaeology from the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Demas specialized in Aegean archaeology of the Late Bronze Age, intrigued by the artistic achievement and the remarkable interaction of peoples in the Mediterranean during the period. She did most of her fieldwork in Cyprus and, after receiving her doctorate, returned there to work for three years with the Department of Antiquities on several excavations and publications. Her fieldwork convinced her that much needed to be done to prevent the degradation of excavated sites and the resulting loss of important material. Enrolling at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, she earned a master's degree in historic preservation planning, writing her thesis on postexcavation site conservation.

While working in Cyprus, she first met members of the GCI staff. In 1990 she became a Fellow in the Institute's Training Program, helping develop courses on the conservation and management of archaeological sites. Wanting more active involvement in site preservation, she moved to Special Projects in 1992, working on the GCI's field projects at Chaco Canyon, Xunantunich, and Laetoli. Her participation in the Laetoli project has been particularly satisfying, providing her with the unique opportunity to contribute to the preservation of a site so significant to our understanding of human evolution.

In 1994, shortly after becoming a Conservation Specialist with the Institute, she was made Acting Director of Special Projects, a position she held until December 1995. While continuing her fieldwork, she would like to devote more time to writing about the results of her projects and what has been learned from them. She also wouldn't mind spending a little time in the small stone house on Cyprus that she bought during her years as an archaeologist in the field.