University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Maori Pendant from New Zealand [Object of the Day #32]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

This greenstone pendant is characteristic of the Maori, a polynesian tribe who settled New Zealand. The carved figure is human with an oversized head tilted to one side, arms resting on knees, and legs bent inward with his feet touching. Greenstone pendants derive their value from the hours spent carving into this hard stone. They […]

The new “Lords of Time”?


By: Stephen Lang

With the new MAYA 2012 exhibit up and running the concept of time and keeping track of time has been on my mind lately. A few years ago, on my way to a restaurant in San Francisco, my friend and I stumbled across a building with a sign that said “X Long Now”.  Intrigued, we […]

Ainu Robe from Japan [Object of the Day #31]

Ainu Robe

By: Stephen Lang

This Ainu robe was collected by  Hiram M. Hiller (1867-1921) a physician and amateur ethnologist during a trip to Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan. The trip itself lasted only a month but covered an area stretching from the southern coastal villages of Hokkaido, near Shiraoi (where this piece comes from), to a circuit around […]

Amphora from 490 BCE [Object of the Day #30]


By: Amy Ellsworth

This Attic red figure amphora was made around 490 BCE in the Greek city of Athens.  It was exported to the Etruscan city of Vulci (north of Rome), where it was found in the early 19th century CE.  Athens (and the surrounding region, Attica) was known for  iron-rich clay that was used in its characteristic Attic […]

Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month, July 2012

Photo of the ring showing individual spirals in rope design

By: Brad Hafford

Ur Digitization Project Artifact of the month Spotlight on Field Number U.12380 (Museum Number 30-12-553) Gold Ring from the ‘Great Death Pit’ This ring is made of a spiral coil of gold wire, twisted in places to make a cable or rope pattern. The ancient jeweler more than 4,000 years ago soldered the coil together […]

Mancala Board [Object of the Day #29]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

This object is a three-row folding Mancala board made from two galutta boards. Upon each board are 9 circular depressions and one projecting arm. The board’s purpose is a platform upon which Mancala is played, a game popular in African regions such as Ethiopia. Mancala is played by using a number of counters, usually in […]

Standing Buddha Statue [Object of the Day #28]

Standing Buddha Statue

By: Alyssa Kaminski

This statue depicts the Buddha standing in a classic Mandalay position. The statue dates back to the 19th century and was crafted in Burma. In the Buddha’s left hand he holds up his robe revealing the ornate gilding that covers a glass inlay. In his right hand he holds out a myrobalan seed (Terminalia chebula). The […]

Pachacamac Survey Project: Ceramics Update

Team Pachacamac (Top left) Jacob Bridy, Elizabeth Levitz, Laura Walsh, Nicole Bull, Hong-Gyu Shin (Bottom left) Elissa Meyers, Fran Baas, Ainslie Harrison

By: Ainslie Harrison

So we are almost at the end of our IMLS survey of Pachacamac textiles and ceramics. As mentioned in previous blog posts, this one-year grant covers a detailed condition assessment, photography, and rehousing of the archeological textiles and ceramics from Max Uhle’s 1896 excavation at Pachacamac, Peru.  We have gotten a lot done over the last 10 […]

Coconut Grater Stool [Object of the Day #27]

Coconut Splitter

By: Amy Ellsworth

This coconut grater stool was made in 1964 by local artisan Soses Tara on Nukuoro atoll in the Caroline Islands. A serrated piece of shell is attached to the front of the stool with plant fibers, and a split coconut is rubbed along the rough edge to shred the meat.  The gracefully shaped stool resembles a […]

Archaeology and Empire: The Role of The Great Powers

By: Tom Pedrick

As a volunteer working on the Ur Digitization Project, I spent time examining and scanning a series of original letters pertaining to the 1922-1934 Ur excavation. As a whole, these historical documents are fascinating; they provide insight into not only Ur, but the political history of the 1920s in the Middle East. One particular letter […]

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