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Wendy Ashmore has passed away at the age of 70. (Photo from UC Riverside)

Former University of Pennsylvania associate professor of anthropology Wendy Ashmore died in Riverside, California on Jan. 8 after battling two autoimmune diseases, the Penn Almanac reported.

Ashmore received her doctorate from Penn in 1981 before she became a teaching fellow in the Anthropology Department from 1974 to 1979. She then became an associate professor at Penn in 1992, at the same time serving as associate curator for the American Section of the Penn Museum. The former associate professor was also an emeritus fellow of the Penn Museum's Kolb Society.

Ashmore's research focused on Mesoamerican civilizations and the Maya culture. More recently, she was focusing her studies on the intersection of gender and architecture. While at Penn, Ashmore received several Research Foundation Awards and was presented with the Elizabeth Bingham Award from the Association for Women in Science in 1998.

In 2000, Ashmore left Penn and moved to the University of California Riverside, where she became a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology. In 2002, Ashmore received the President’s Award from the American Anthropological Association.

Ashmore also authored and edited several books. She co-authored “Archaeology: Discovering Our Past” and “Discovering Our Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology" alongside Robert Sharer, former Kolb Society emeritus fellow and a Penn professor emeritus of anthropology. 

Ashmore is survived by her husband, Thomas Patterson, and her siblings Patrick Matthews, Carol Matthews, and Elizabeth Gould.