University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Archives

The Speck Connection: Recovering Histories of Indigenous Objects

Frank Speck in his office in College Hall, University of Pennsylvania, c. 1930.

By: Margaret Bruchac

Frank Gouldsmith Speck (1881–1950), acknowledged as one of the most prolific anthropologists of the early 20th century, served as chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania for nearly four decades (1913–1949). He conducted ground-breaking ethnographic research, working closely with Indigenous informants from a wide range of communities (Cherokee, Haudenosaunee, Mohegan, Nanticoke, […]

Ringo’s Futuristic School of Thought

Mr. Burrows' Motherboard

By: Alyssa Velazquez

The work in the Penn Museum Archives never ends. The backlog resists attempts at taming it. The Archives is happy to have a number of interns and volunteers who are willing to help organize, catalog, and preserve the documents, drawings, and photographs in the collections. Alyssa Velazquez is one such intern, who is presently reorganizing […]

Is Elvis in the building?


By: Kate Pourshariati

In honor of the important national holiday today we highlight an ancient artifact [reel to reel tape!] from our audio-visual collections… “Plot synopsis: Archaeologists in the year 7956 explore the abandoned ruins of the long-dead civilization of North America, and attempt to decipher the meanings of its strange artifacts. Based on a short story, [by […]

Films of Sitio Conte as a primary source material

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.06.21 PM

By: Kate Pourshariati

The Beneath the Surface exhibit has positioned the film records of the expedition to Sitio Conte prominently within the exhibit. We asked Clark Erickson, the lead curator of the exhibit, what the films mean to him as primary source materials in the history of archaeology, and especially of this site. The video advances my agenda […]

Sitio Conte in Real Time: February 7, 1940


By: Lee Roueche

Wed. Feb. 7. Ash Wednesday. In spite of “Carnival” yesterday, all men at work by 7:10. Much [?] at this hour, calm & not hot. Got very hot during day. Lothrop had chicha party for men after work. Cook is apparently dissatisfied & threatens to leave frequently. Muse have good talk with him & settle […]

Sitio Conte in Real Time: February 5, 1940


By: Lee Roueche

Mon. Feb 5. Warm, happy, rather clear. 9 diggers & foreman. Lothrop & I troweled on large area of broken pottery & [?] in w[est]. end of trench. Merrill surveying. Photo’d skeleton & cache in Tr I & [?] took up broken broken pottery. Corning washing & selecting sherds. John [?] [?] rolls of canvas […]

Sitio Conte in Real Time: February 4, 1940


By: Lee Roueche

Sun. Feb. 4. Pleasant quiet warm day, first quiet day in ten days. Most of us up a half hour late. Merrill spent whole day on his drawings. Lothrops took a little trip up river to see Verrills site and found two new ones. The Cornings spent most of day straightening up equipment. John M. […]

Sitio Conte in Real Time: February 3, 1940


By: Lee Roueche

-Robert Merrill, Field Notes, pg. 1, February 3, 1940 Today marks Robert Merrill’s first day on the job at Sitio Conte.  His meticulous field notebook contains–in exquisite detail–his notes, drawings, and photographs of the excavations. It is an invaluable tool for learning about the Cocle people and the burials at Sitio Conte. A retired civil engineer, Merrill worked with […]

Sitio Conte in Real Time: February 2, 1940


By: Lee Roueche

Came down on a cache of a half dozen apparently complete vessels this afternoon which will be photo’d and taken out tomorrow. A few gold beads found by the workmen in the soil. Also today began to uncover a great mass of broken pottery. -J. Alden Mason to Horace Jayne, February 2, 1940 In his first […]

Sitio Conte in Real Time: January 26, 1940


By: Eric Schnittke

Tire trouble near Penonome. En route Panama to Cocle 1/26/40 Taken by S.K. Lothrop The Masons running a rapid in the Rio Grande de Cocle. 1/26/40 Taken by S.K. Lothrop

Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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