Simon Martin

Adjunct Associate Professor

Associate Curator and Keeper, Penn Museum



Simon Martin is a political anthropologist and specialist in Maya hieroglyphic writing, with a particular interest in the history, politics, and religious beliefs of the Classic Period (150-900 CE). His major focus for two decades now has been on the social and political organization of the Maya lowlands and reconstructing the network of hegemonic ties between polities. He has conducted epigraphic fieldwork at Calakmul, a UNESCO World Heritage Site set within the largest biosphere in southeastern Mexico since 1994. His work on Calakmul and its political network has appeared or been discussed in Science, Scientific American, National Geographic, Archaeology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Simon also took part in the NOVA television program “Cracking the Maya Code” and other shows for the Discovery and History Channels. His most recent contribution was to the National Geographic Channel’s “Lost Treasures of the Snake Kings” (2018). He has authored 37 articles and book chapters, together with another 15 co-authored pieces. His book Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens, with Nikolai Grube (2000), is now in its second edition (2008) and has been translated into five other languages. Simon is an Associate Curator and Keeper of the American Section at the Penn Museum. He co-developed the exhibition “Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya” for the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, writing its accompanying book together with Mary Miller (2004). He co-curated the exhibition “MAYA 2012: Lords of Time” at Penn Museum and is currently working on a complete re-installation of its Mexico and Central America Gallery. He has co-taught in a 500-level course for the Department of Anthropology and has supervised independent study courses.


Ph.D University College London

Selected Publications


Associate Curator and Keeper, Penn Museum



Faculty Status