TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — Gordon F. Ekholm, curator emeritus of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and an authority on pre-Columbian archeology in Mexico and Central America, has died at age 78.
Ekholm, who died Thursday, had theorized that the forebears of the Mayas, whose New World civilization flowered between AD 300 and AD 900, had migrated across the Pacific Ocean from Asia.
In 1949, he mounted an exhibition at the museum showing parallels between cultures in Asia and the Mayan civilization.
Ekholm was born in St. Paul, Minn., and received an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota. He earned master's and doctoral degrees in anthropology at Harvard University.
He joined the museum staff in 1937 and became curator in 1957, organizing its widely praised permanent Hall of Mexico and Central America in 1970.