Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Salty Pots of Ur and the Desalination Station

Ceramics drying after desalination

In July, I joined the Ur Digitization Project.  As a part of this project, I have been working on a condition assessment of the ceramics from Ur.  In doing the condition assessment I am looking at, measuring, and evaluating the stability of every ceramic vessel in the Museum’s collection from Ur.  So far I have […]

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The Penn Museum Collection – Past and Present

Clockwise from top left: 2011-14-3A, Sculpture of Monk, Burma / 2011-14-1, Sculpture of Temple Dancer, Thailand / 2011-14-6, Bust of Buddha, Burma / 2011-14-13, Lacquered bowl, Burma. These objects are from a 2011 gift from Kathryn Smith Pyle. Pyle’s aunt, Aileen Pyle, and uncle, Robert Porter Sechler, had collected the objects while living and travelling in South and Southeast Asia in the 1950s and 1960s. This acquisition complements the Museum’s existing collection of Southeast Asian Buddhist and ethnographic materials.

The Penn Museum Collection consists of archaeological and ethnographic materials from most regions of the world. The majority of the collection was formed in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century through hundreds of archaeological and anthropological expeditions. On April 1, 1970, the Penn Museum fundamentally changed the Museum’s acquisitions […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Baseball

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With baseball’s World Series starting this week, it’s fitting to pay tribute to the Fall Classic with the Photo of the Week. Featured in this image is a baseball team from an indemnity school, most likely Tsinghua College in Peking, China. Tsinghua College (now Tsinghua University) was created as a preparatory school as part of the Boxer […]

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Zheng He: Great Voyages Lecture

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During three decades at the beginning of the 15th century, China dispatched a series of naval expeditions to Southeast Asia, India, the Persian Gulf and East Africa. These expeditions were on a huge scale, involving hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of men, and were intended to assert the prestige and political dominance of […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Mummy Bundles

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This week’s photo of the week comes from Pachacamac in Peru. The Penn Museum excavations at Pachacamac were led by Max Uhle, a German philologist and archaeologist who was continuing the work that he had undertaken for the Ethnological Museum of Berlin. Uhle’s explorations of South America lasted from 1895 to 1897. Featured in the image are […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Sphinx

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You may have to squint, but this week’s archives photo of the week is still important. This image is the only known photograph of the Penn Museum’s Sphinx en route to Cairo for shipping to Philadelphia. The photo was sent by Flinders Petrie to then museum director George Byron Gordon. The 15-ton statue of Ramesses II […]

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Entering a New Phase of Life: 2012 New Acquisitions

Briefcase (2012-29-2): When was this briefcase made? Was it ever used?

This is the third entry in a series of posts on Collecting and Acquisitions. For over fifty years, the Penn Museum was home to renowned anthropologist Igor Kopytoff (1930-2013), Consulting Curator in the Museum’s African Section.  I was never personally acquainted with Igor, however, I, like many other young anthropologists, came to know him by […]

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