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Dr. Bruce H. Dahlin

By Staff | Feb 11, 2011

Dr. Bruce H. Dahlin, 69, of Shepherdstown passed away in his home Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011 the day before his 70th birthday, after a two-year struggle with bladder cancer. Dahlin had a storied career as both a university professor and an active field research archaeologist.

Raised in the Chicago area, Dahlin received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Before proceeding to graduate work, he served in the U.S. Navy as a Master Deep Sea Diving Officer. After his military service, Dahlin entered graduate school to study archaeology, obtaining his Master’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Temple University, both in Philadelphia.

After teaching at the Catholic University and the University of Colorado, Dahlin spent 20 years at Howard University in Washington, D.C., as a tenured professor. While there, he taught archaeology and cultural anthropology. In his retirement, he served briefly as an adjunct professor at Shepherd University’s Center for Environmental Studies.

As an active research archeologist, Dahlin launched his career in research projects that took him around the world. He worked in the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan, Mexico, Panama, Belize, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and in Cyprus. His premier archeological project was the excavation of the ancient Maya site of Chunchucmil in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula for nearly 15 years. There, he did pioneering research on the hereto unrecognized extent of the ancient Maya’s involvement in a market economy.

Dahlin received extensive funding for his field work from such prominent institutions as the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He was the author and co-author of 50 scholarly articles and 14 major reports on many research projects.

In his retirement, he also undertook a variety of renovation and construction projects within Jefferson and Berkley County. His work served to preserve and enhance the historic heritage of the community.

Dahlin is survived by his son Justin Dahlin of Shepherdstown. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Andrea Lipowitz Dahlin, who died in 1989. In his final weeks he was well attended by Hospice of the Eastern Panhandle. Instead of flowers, donations should be made in his name to Hospice of the Eastern Panhandle.

A memorial service will be held at the Train Station in Shepherdstown, Saturday, Feb. 12, at 11 a.m.