University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Welcome to the Penn Museum blog. First launched in January 2009, the Museum blog now has over 800 posts covering a range of topics in the categories of Museum, Collection, Exhibitions, Research, and By Location. Here you’ll hear directly from our staff and Penn students about their work, research, experiences, and discoveries. To explore a topic of interest, please use the Blog Search function.


Visiting Sites around Lake Van, Turkey – Rachel Cohen

View from atop the Urartian site of Ayanis.  Photo credit: Rachel Cohen.

By: Anne Tiballi

I just got back from two weeks in the Lake Van region of eastern Turkey, where I was doing pre-dissertation research on sites from the Urartian Empire (860 – 590 BCE). Specifically, my research takes a phenomenological approach, focusing on bodily experiences of archaeological sites: sights, sounds, textures, sensations of movement, and the emotional impact […]

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The Shena of Senwosret at Abydos – Paul Verhelst

Summer 2016 Penn Excavation Team. Front row staring from the left: Dr. Josef Wegner, Dr. Jennifer Houser-Wegner, Alexander Wegner, and Danny Doyle. Back row starting from the left: Molly Gleeson and Paul Verhelst. Photo by Dr. Jennifer Houser-Wegner.

By: Anne Tiballi

For my fourth consecutive summer, I returned to Egypt to work on Dr. Josef Wegner’s project at the mortuary complex of Senwosret III, located within the ancient site of Abydos. As with previous seasons, I helped excavate around the Senwosret III tomb enclosure, which is part of a mortuary complex that consists of the tomb […]

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Processing Pottery in Kenchreai – Gavin Blasdel

Using a Munsell chart to examine one of the several hundred small-handled stoppers discovered at Threpsiades. Photo by Jayse Weaver.

By: Anne Tiballi

Summer. To me, it means two things: Greece and archaeology. For the past four years I have spent all or most of my summers in the country doing archaeological work. It all started in 2013 when my advisor Joseph L. Rife at Vanderbilt University, where I was an M.A. student in Classical Studies, invited me […]

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VOICES CRYING IN THE REWILDERNESS: RE-WILDING THE WESTERN USA – Paul Mitchell

Finisia Medrano. Photo by Paul Mitchell.

By: Anne Tiballi

In 1988, the author Kurt Vonnegut finished a letter to the “Ladies and Gentleman of 2088” with the following lines: * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living […]

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Megara and a Mole-Hill: Roman Villa Excavation in Transylvania – Jordan Rogers

Christian, one of the reenactors, told me my head was too fat for his helmet! Photo credit: Corinne Watts.

By: Anne Tiballi

Even with training in classics and ancient history, my knowledge of the province of Roman Dacia, incorporated into the Roman Empire after Trajan’s two major campaigns in 101-2 and 105-6 CE against the Dacian king Decebalus, was partial at best before embarking on my first excavation. The lack of literary evidence concerning the campaigns, the […]

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Foray into the Forests of French Guiana – Megan Postemski

Modeling the mosquito net #glamazon. Photo by Elizabeth Clay.

By: Anne Tiballi

Thanks to funding from the Penn Museum, I was able to participate in my first international archaeological excavation this summer. My destination was French Guiana (a department of France sandwiched between Suriname and Brazil) where I helped conduct an archaeological survey of the slave quarter at three different 19th-century plantations. This project represented the first […]

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The New World of Old World Plants – Alexandria Mitchem

Me and two other students working to set up the flotation tank. Photo by Dr. Chantel White.

By: Anne Tiballi

This summer, I was fortunate to be able to go into the field with Dr. Chantel White to explore the sub-discipline of archaeobotany, the study of ancient plant remains. I have been in the field before, spending last summer learning to dig with Dr. Megan Kassabaum. Upon my return, I conducted research for my senior […]

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The Hypocaust that Never Was, or, the Case of the Missing Floor- Jane Sancinito

Me in “my”  trench, working on cleaning off wall rubble and roof tiles. Behind me, the wall of phase two.

By: Anne Tiballi

This summer I traveled to Transylvania, Romania, to break ground on what is believed to be the central building of a Roman-era villa complex. The site is just outside a small village about a half an hour outside of Deva, the regional capital, and sits at the foot of a majestic volcanic plug, Magura Uroiului. […]

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Colonial DNA at Our Finger- (and Toe-) Tips – By Raquel Fleskes

Avery’s Rest bone samples before DNA sampling. Photo by Raquel Fleskes.

By: Anne Tiballi

In the middle of the sticky mid-June heat, I arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee, with six skeletal samples, a car full of chemical reagents, and the mindset to learn how to do ancient DNA extraction. With help from the Penn Museum, I was able to travel to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to work with […]

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Seven Days of Senwosret – Lisa Saladino Haney

Objects in storage at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photo by Author.

By: Anne Tiballi

With support from the Penn Museum, I was able to further the research I began in 2014 on the statuary of the pharaoh Senwosret III and his son Amenemhet III. This July, I traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore to view a series of statues and […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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