Message #156
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 

Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998
Subject: Preservation Is Really Adventure That You
Could Never Get In Any Other Way

[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

Creative Giving
Edited by Susan Lee

Do scientists need business managers?  Absolutely,
says Bruce Ludwig, who gives freely of his time
and money to help scientists preserve the past.

Treasure Saver
By Ashlea Ebeling

I see myself as a friend, counselor and business
agent who contributes a percentage of my salary,
as opposed to taking a percentage of their salary."
That's how Bruce Ludwig describes his philanthropic
activities. Ludwig, 57, who made his fortune in
California real estate, once got his thrills as a
swashbuckling treasure hunter who salvaged
shipwrecks and mines for profit. Now Ludwig devotes
time and money to the conservation of ancient
sites and the documentation of cultural traditions.
Why the change? A map; or actually, the lack
thereof. Ludwig was sitting next to archaeologist
Kent Weeks at a Stanford Research Institute luncheon
back in 1980. Weeks mentioned his plan to make a 3-D
map of ancient Thebes (Luxor today), and Ludwig's
imagination was engaged. "Amazing as it is, the
Valley of the Kings, one of the most important
sites in the world, had never been mapped," Ludwig
says. "I thought: A map, that sounds like a legacy
that I would like to leave." Ludwig gave Weeks
$10,000 to fund six weeks of field work in Luxor,
a dusty landscape with an unknown number of New
Kingdom tombs and monuments, unmapped and
endangered by tourism. Weeks' mapping project
identified the entrance to KV5, the tombs of the
sons of King Ramses II, at the spot where a bus
turnaround was planned. The turnaround plan was
scrapped, and Ludwig, all 6-foot-4 of him, was
among the first to crawl inside. In a sense he's
been crawling around in the past ever since.
Ludwig's gift to Weeks marked the beginning of a
benevolent adventure. Ludwig has become Weeks'
most consistent and loyal benefactor (he has
donated more than $250,000 for the mapping project).
Among the dozens of other researchers he helps:
paleontologists at the Institute of Human Origins,
whose founder discovered the 3-million-year-old
skeleton "Lucy"; engineers rebuilding an ancient
water system to save the sandstone temples of Petra,
Jordan from flash floods; oceanographers trying to
reverse the failing health of the world's coral
reefs, and documentary photographers recording
vanishing ceremonial rites of passage throughout
Africa. These folks are able to pursue their dreams
largely because of Ludwig's willingness to believe
in what they do and-and as he puts it-his
willingness to be their unpaid business manager.
A year's funding per project runs between $25,000
and $150,000. Two years ago Ludwig sold a real
estate investment advisory firm he cofounded and
became a private consultant to, primarily, Middle
East clients. "The money I make there goes back
into the ground." Ludwig was right there with his
open wallet and energy for a similar mapping
project in Giza, where archaeologist Mark Lehner
is looking for evidence of the civilization that
built the Great Pyramids. "Now here's a site, the
sphinx and the pyramids, probably the most famous
ancient site in the world-no map," Ludwig says.
"This is just ancient real estate to try to
understand. Why did they do this? You can't start
unless you start from the baseline, which is a map."
Lehner met Ludwig in Giza. Says the archaeologist:
"He walked out in cowboy boots and jeans, bigger
than life, and immediately put money into the
small project I had going." Then Ludwig took the
next step-bringing others aboard. Using the skills
he honed as a commercial real estate broker -
introducing two parties who should know each
other-Ludwig introduced Lehner to David Koch of
Koch Industries (a fellow Institute of Human
Origins board member): "I told Koch, 'You'd enjoy
meeting this guy because he talks engineering 5,000
years ago, and you understand how it's done today."
Koch is now one of Lehner's principal supporters.
Ludwig believes that scientists should be in the
field working, not making cold calls to raise
money, a chore he willingly shoulders. Take
documentary photographers Angela Fisher and Carol
Beckwith, who have spent seven years recording 90
ceremonial rites of passage in Africa. Koch said he
would put up $250,000 if it could be matched. 
Ludwig, who initially donated $20,000 himself
($10,000 in the name of each of his daughters), met
the challenge by introducing "les girls d'Afrique,"
as he calls them, to billionaire John Kluge's ex-wife
Patricia, among others. When the Planetary Coral
Reef Foundation's research ship recently needed
help getting permission from the Egyptian government
to enter the Red Sea, Ludwig made several phone
calls, and the mission was under way. Ludwig moves
seamlessly from his life as an executive in gold
cufflinks and blue suspenders to his role as
adventurer in khaki shirt and hiking boots. Once
a Boy Scout, and the son of a grocer in South Dakota,
he is "an explorer at heart," says Fisher. Ludwig
only wishes that more philanthropically-minded
people would consider giving to scientific causes:
"Once I was given the opportunity to be with real
scientists, I discovered that preservation is really
adventure that you could never get in any other way."

Forbes May 4, 1998