University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Ur Digitization Project: November 2015

Parthian horse and rider figurine from Nippur.

By: Brad Hafford

Horse and Rider at Ur A look at U.20055 (Museum Object Number: 35-1-114) And other horse and rider figurines When did the people of Mesopotamia first start riding horses? It’s a straightforward question but it has a somewhat complicated answer. First of all, the true horse (Equus caballus) was a relatively late entry into Mesopotamia […]

Ur Project: September 2015

What animal is it? U.12772, 31-17-322

By: Brad Hafford

An Ubaid Period Quadruped Figurine from Ur Another Game of ‘What Animal Is It Anyway?’ U.12772 (Museum Nr. 31-17-322) I’ve been looking into the theme of transportation in the ancient world lately and attempting to use the information and artifacts we are gathering and presenting at Ur-Online to research the question. How was transport displayed […]

Ur Project: August 2015

Sample note card from Legrain's research. The category for the figurine is in blue pencil at bottom.

By: Brad Hafford

Researcher Notes and Intern Work Spotlight on Legrain note cards (and the interns who helped with them) Including a special look at model brick(?) U.7587 (Museum Object Number: B17216) Near the end of the old Ur excavations, Father León Legrain (Penn Museum Babylonian Section Curator at the time) began writing two volumes for the Ur Excavation series. […]

Ur Project: June 2015

RAF aerial photo of Ur in May 1926 showing extensive Woolley excavations and TTC (though note there is another mystery trench to the west of the Temenos).

By: Brad Hafford

Mapping the Early Trial Trenches at Ur Reconstructing the sequence of excavation A look at TTA-TTG as archaeological contexts Locating Woolley’s trenches on a map is a trying exercise. In most cases he did not record the locations of exploratory excavation trenches specifically, as he was less concerned with them than with the location of […]

Ur Project: May 2015

x-ray of U.8783 (B17463) with comparison to published pin types from Ur

By: Brad Hafford

Metal Tools and Weapons from Ur With yet another look at U.8783 (Penn Museum Number: B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 More than 40 years after he excavated at the ancient city of Ur, Sir Max Mallowan had this to say: “There is still much to be gained through the analysis of Woolley’s […]

Ur Project: March 2015

Screen shot from Ur-Online showing the assemblage from EHG46. This view was obtained by searching G46 in the main search box.

By: Brad Hafford

Toward a Digital Research Tool Spotlight on EHG46: Larsa/Old Babylonian grave assemblage Example usage of the Ur-Online test site We have opened our digital research tool — — in a test version to researchers around the world. This month I want to show one way it helps to speed up research by organizing contextual […]

Ur Project: February 2015

31-17-403 after opening the crate and pulling back the burlap

By: Brad Hafford

Deep Pits and Early Burials (Again) Spotlight on 31-17-403: Uruk Period Skeleton from Ur Penn Museum’s second rediscovered skeleton The documentation that led to the rediscovery of an ancient skeleton from Ur in the Penn Museum’s storerooms last year showed that two skeletons had been received in March of 1931. This month we have located […]

Ur Project: January 2015

Leica Picture

By: Brad Hafford

Pseudomorphs on Metal Objects from Ur A closer look at U.14097 and U.9134 (Penn Museum Nr. 31-17-241 and B17476) Chisels from PG 1653 and PG 537 —- This month’s Blog entry is written by researcher Kyra Kaercher with technical assistance from conservator Tessa De Alarcon. Special thanks to the Conservation Department for the macro photo […]

Ur Project: December 2014

X-ray of tool B17463, rotated 90 degrees from the previous image and at a different wavelength showing less of the bitumen.

By: Brad Hafford

Tool Complete with Handle (Again) Comparisons to and a closer look at U.8783 (Penn Museum Nr. B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 With the expansion of the Penn Museum’s scientific lab and teaching space (Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials, CAAM) the Museum has acquired a digital x-ray suite. This new […]

Ur Project: November 2014

Part of the original field card for PG 422, showing the tool as drawn and described by Woolley.

By: Brad Hafford

Tool Complete with Handle Spotlight on U.8783 (Penn Museum No. B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 The Ur Project database is shaping up well and as we add information to it, we have moved on to the examination of metal tools and weapons from the site in the Penn Museum. Recently we […]

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