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 the Museum's other digital content, visit The Digital Penn Museum.


November 29, 1729: The Natchez Revolt

By: Megan Kassabaum

As a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, and now Weingarten Assistant Curator in the American Section of the Penn Museum, I have spent over a decade working on prehistoric Native American sites in the area surrounding Natchez, Mississippi. Many of you may have read about our recent work there in these previous […]

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Celebrating 50 Years of Professional Conservation at the Penn Museum

Molly Gleeson, Schwartz Project Conservator, jointly presenting at they Symposium with Eve Mayberger, Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on conservation at the excavations at Abydos, Egypt.

By: Nina Owczarek

The Conservation Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall. The lab was first established in 1966 and is one of the first archaeology / anthropology conservation labs in the US staffed by professional conservators. In the early years, the focus was on conservation treatments. But under the leadership of Virginia Greene, who began working […]

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Worth the Wait – Michael Freeman

The full skeleton. Photo by Michael Freeman.

By: Anne Tiballi

Apollonia Pontica was a 7th century Greek colony dedicated to Apollo. The well-placed port town, located on the Black Sea coast of modern-day Bulgaria, would stand through Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman times until it was ultimately rechristened “Sozopol” during the Christian era, meaning “The City of Salvation” in Greek. The Milesians who laid the foundations […]

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A New View of Laventille, Trinidad – Leniqueca Welcome

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine. Photo by Leniqueca Welcome.

By: Anne Tiballi

With funding from the Penn Museum, this summer I was able to travel to Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island republic situated off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, to conduct anthropological pre-dissertation field research in an area popularly called Laventille. Laventille is now infamous among Trinbagonians as it has been labelled one of the country’s […]

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Viewing Tihosuco – Kasey Diserens

Kasey giving a talk to the students at the museum summer program about the colonial houses in Tihosuco, focusing on how to identify them and learn more about them.  Photo by Socorro Poot Dzib.

By: Anne Tiballi

I have just completed my third field season in Tihosuco. My work is part of a larger community-based heritage preservation project run by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, part of the Penn Museum. My study is one of ten(!) sub-projects, all related to the history and heritage of Tihosuco, and many are focused on learning […]

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How Dirty Can You Get While Excavating a Roman Bath? – Emma Brown

The happy author in her square. Photo by Jenny McCarthy.

By: Anne Tiballi

Most of my summers have been spent working in research laboratories, but this year I left the bench to do some literal dirty work on an archaeological dig. I went to Italy as part of a field school to excavate a bath in the Roman city of Carsulae, located on the Via Flaminia, a trade […]

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After Excavation Ends, the Real Work Begins – Kurtis Tanaka

Byzantinist George Makris resurveying fields. Photo by Kurtis Tanaka.

By: Anne Tiballi

For a grad student in archaeology, summers usually mean being on the move, to sites, cities, and schools. Certainly this was true of mine—a simplified itinerary would look something like this: Athens, Rome, Athens, Berlin, Thessaloniki, Komotini, Istanbul, and Athens again. A peripatetic summer such as this reflects the many necessities and duties (or perhaps […]

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Gather ‘Round the Pleistocene Fire – Aylar Abdolahzadeh

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By: Anne Tiballi

Les Eyzies, located in the Périgord region, is one of the most beautiful towns in southwestern France. This region is rich with rock shelters, prehistoric caves, medieval castles, and archaeological materials. Hotels, restaurants, stores, and local markets are crowded with tourists who want to know everything about this part of France’s culture and the region’s […]

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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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The Golden Age of King Midas

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