Merle Green Robertson
Posted by Kacey (+3159) 10 years ago
Merle Green Robertson

Private funeral services were held for Merle Green Robertson, 97, of San Francisco, Calif., former Miles City resident.
Mrs. Robertson died Friday, April 22, 2011, at her home. She merged her loves of art and history into a groundbreaking career in archaeology.
A leading researcher of ancient Mayan civilization, she was a passionate teacher who led hundreds of students on adventures in the ruins of Central America and Mexico.
Mrs. Robertson was born in Miles City. Her father worked as a sawmill architect. She learned to draw from her father and from their nieghbor, Charles Russell, the famed wester artist.
Following graduation from the University of Washington, Mrs. Robertson studied art in Mexico at the Instituto Allende. There she fell in love with Latin American culture and art. Later she earned her master of fine arts degree from the University of Guanajuato.
Her son, David Greene of San Francisco, said, "She loved the color, the feeling, the fact that it wasn't very far away. And it was different that Egyptology because there was still so much to discover."
Mrs. Robertson was a frequent visitor to Mexico and Central America for the next 40 years. Using rice paper and Japanese ink, she pioneered a type of archaeological rubbing that elevated the standard technique for recording images of artifacts to an art form. Tulame University in New Orleans has preserved more than 2,000 of her rubbings. During the time she spend in Mexico and Central America, she creted rubbings, drawings and photographs of more than 130 archaeological sites.
She co-founded the Palenque Round Table, a leading conference for Mayan researchers, in 1973.
She spent weeks painstakingly documenting items such as altars, statues and other ruins threatened by looting and decay. She traveled through the jungle for miles, climbing pyramids and taking on gun-carrying guerrillas and wildlife including poisonous snakes, many times with a group of students in tow.
For her rubbings, she would clean an artifact, cover it with wet rice paper and after the rice paper dried, she would blot it with ink until a perfect impression would be created.
Rubbings are superior to photographs or drawings. They are 100 percent to scale, can be three-dimensional and contain no shadows.
Mrs. Robertson is survived by her son of San Francisco; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband and a daughter.
The family suggests donations in Mrs. Robertson's name to the Latin American Library's Merle Green Robertson Fund, Fourth Floor, Howard-Tilton Library, Tulane University, 7001 Freret St., New Orleans, LA 70118; or the Pre-Columbiam Collection at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94118.