Nancy Ruth Coinman, a member and supporter of the Grant County Archaeological Society, left a generous gift from her estate to the GCAS upon her death in 2015. Her surviving family made an equally generous donation to the GCAS in Nancy’s memory. These two gifts form the basis of the Nancy Coinman Grant Awards.
Nancy was born in 1944 in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1950 when she was six years old, Nancy’s family relocated to New Mexico where she grew up. Her love of the Land of Enchantment remained with her as she traveled the world. After graduating from New Mexico State University in 1966, she married U.S. Navy pilot Mike Coinman, moved to California and began teaching. Following her husband’s passing in a plane crash, Nancy developed a keen interest in cultural anthropology. That interest brought her to Arizona State University where in 1990 she earned her PhD in anthropology with a focus on archaeology. Subsequently she taught anthropology/archaeology at Tulsa University; and later, beginning in 1993, continued her work at Iowa State University. At ISU Nancy performed laboratory analyses on the lithic assemblages from Upper Paleolithic sites of the Levant, where she had conducted field research for almost 30 years. She also conducted field work at prehistoric and historic sites in San Diego County; Hohokam and Sinagua sites in Arizona; Mogollon sites in New Mexico; and Neolithic sites in Jordan.
Beloved by her students and a mentor to many, Nancy retired in 2009 and moved to Mimbres, New Mexico. She continued to participate in archaeological endeavors and remained active in community service until her death from cancer in 2015.
As a lifelong traveler and teacher, Nancy believed that the most effective way to preserve and protect archaeological sites against development and looting is by educating students and the general public that these sites and the artifacts they contain are non-renewable resources that are essential to understanding our human family’s heritage.
Nancy Coinman’s commitment to her life’s ideals continues with the Nancy Coinman Grant Awards.