University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Cute Overload Laos

By: Amy Ellsworth

I’m now laughing at the fear the travel medicine practitioner instilled in us about the local fauna. According to them we are to assume that every puppy we pass on the street has rabies. I was emphatically told us not to touch ANY animal no matter how cute and fluffy. There are dogs and cats […]

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Tham An Mah

By: Amy Ellsworth

On Saturday, I was finally able to interview Joyce at Tham An Mah. She said the reason why they picked this site was because it would make a comfortable place to live. She described it almost like a real estate listing: roomy, well-sheltered, good living and cooking space… I imagined a hunter-gatherer couple discussing if […]

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Day Seven

By: Amy Ellsworth

The next morning at breakfast, we were talking with Joyce and the team about the american phenomenon of summer camp. Michael recounted his experience at “Mount Misery” and Joyce asked how this experience at the excavation camp compared. He said he was having some difficulty, digestion-wise, and suddenly his face iced over and his hand […]

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Day Six

By: Amy Ellsworth

While a group of us were waiting for the rest of the team to muster, a loud squawk came from a bag piled against the wall amid other bags of rice and oranges. We all started and stared. “Did that bag just move?” Kathleen asked. Just then the bag seemed to inflate and a black […]

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Day Five Digging at Tham An Mah

By: Amy Ellsworth

The team has dug the one by two down to about a meter revealing a beautiful pot completely in tact. Joyce deliberated with BeunHoung about digging a square meter around the pot to get the whole thing out. This of course means more sifting. She said it was most likely a burial pot from the […]

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Mount Phousi

By: Amy Ellsworth

Yes, that is an Oreo cookie. While sight seeing around Luang Prabang, we had to start with the climb up Mount Phousi. The route is peppered with marigolds and sticky rice offerings. Little orange candles also pop up in unexpected spots. Tourists were buzzing around the Wat snapping photos of other tourists smiling in front […]

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Digging at Tham An Mah

By: Amy Ellsworth

The third day of digging at the cave site, the trenches were down to about a foot or so. Two large bones were sticking out of the one-by-one. Helen said they looked human, but they wouldn’t know until the rest of them was uncovered. A piece of skull revealed itself in the one-by-two as well […]

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Party with the Villagers of Xieng Mouk

By: Amy Ellsworth

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmyvg5qEpJg] One the way back down from Tham An Ma, we walked through the village of Ban Xieng Mouk. (Ban means Village so that’s a bit redundant.) The people were celebrating a wedding. A few women women were frying seaweed and cooking pho on the outdoor clay ovens. People seated at a picnic table under […]

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First Day in Luang Prabang

By: Amy Ellsworth

I was terrified to see that our airplane actually had propellers, but the flight was surprisingly steady. The airport was right out of Fantasy Island. Even the customs and visa staff were smiling ear to ear. We met Elizabeth from the MMAP team and two other researchers and took a van into town. The drive […]

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About MMAP

By: Amy Ellsworth

The Mekong River is one of the world’s great rivers, but very little is known about its prehistoric human settlement. The Middle Mekong Archaeological Project (MMAP), conceived in 2001, seeks to investigate human settlement of the Mekong Valley with a research program beginning in Luang Prabang in northern Laos. Since 2005, MMAP has conducted a […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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