Susan R. Martin

Professor Emerita

  • PhD, Michigan State University, 1985
  • MA, Michigan State University, 1977
  • AB, Miami University, 1970


The thing that I enjoy most about my job is involving undergraduates in research, and watching (and assisting) the graduate students as they become creative professionals. I also enjoy meeting the public and helping to interpret the archaeological record for them.  For a number of years I have been working on prehistoric copper and its uses by the native people of the Lake Superior region. The prehistoric mining evidence in this region is one of its most unique characteristics.  I am also interested in the history of anthropology as practiced in the Lake Superior Basin.   In addition I take part in efforts to engage the public in local heritage issues and events.

Areas of Expertise

  • Heritage Management and Studies
  • Prehistoric Archaeology
  • Native American Technologies
  • Ancient Copper
  • Food Systems

Recent Publications

  • Susan R. Martin. 2013. “God is in the Details: Sister Hilger and the Anishinaabeg.” Michigan Archaeologist 54. In press.
  • Susan R. Martin. 2012. “Three Anthropologists Among the Anishinaabeg.” Ms. in review.
  • Susan R. Martin. 2009. Copper Quarries on Isle Royale, Michigan; Isle Royale National Park.” Archaeology in America 2:78-82.
  • Susan R. Martin. 2008. “Mining: Copper Mining in the Great Lakes (USA).” The Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, 2:1680-1685.

Recent Funding

  • Curation of Archaeological Collections from the Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan
  • Curation of Archaeological Collections from the Ottawa National Forest, Michigan


  • “American Indian Uses of Copper and Minerals in Centuries Past.” Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) March 18-19, 2001, Hancock, Michigan.
  • "Investigating the Source(s) of Native Copper Found on Late Archaic Sites in the Ottawa Valley and Michigan Using Lead Isotopes." Florence Cattin, Adrian L. Burke, Gilles Gauthier, André Poirier, and Susan Martin. Ontario Archaeological Society Annual Symposium, Killarney, Ontario, Canada, September 25, 2010.
  • Native Copper in the Prehistory of Northeastern North America: Provenance Studies Using Lead Isotope Analysis, by Cattin, Florence; Gauthier, Gilles; Poirier, Andre; Veron, Alain; Martin, Susan; Burke, Adrian. 38th International Symposium on Archaeometallurgy (ISA 2010), Tampa, Florida, May 10-15, 2010.

Research Projects

  • Research into the anthropological careers of three women in the Midwest: Frances Densmore, Inez Hilger, and Ruth Landes.

Teaching Experience

  • SS 4100 – American Indian Political Issues
  • SS 4001 – History of Social Thought
  • SS 5900 – Heritage Management
  • SS 3250 – Human Origins and Evolution
  • SS 3110 – Food Systems
  • SS 2100 - World Peoples and Environments