University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Collection


Elder Folks as “Living Museums”

rawls at left with gun

By: Kate Pourshariati

We in the Museum Archives were pleased to host the extended George Rawls family, where they were able to catch up on their grandfather/great-grandfather and his role in the feature film Matto Grosso, the Great Brazilian Wilderness (1931). Our visitor John Ash is the grandson of George Rawls, the Florida cowboy who played the lead […]


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 […]


Penn Museum Coloring Pages

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By: Lee Roueche

With the increasing popularity of adult coloring books, I thought it would be fun to create some original Penn Museum coloring pages with objects from our collection. Through the magic of Photoshop, I was able to turn high resolution images of objects and Mary Louise Baker watercolors into B&W outlines. The intricate designs and repeating […]


Stewart Culin in Cuba, 1901

Jose Almenares Arguello, El Caney, Cuba. Almenares claimed to be 112.  Penn Museum image no. 240597A

By: Alessandro Pezzati

In 1901, Stewart Culin, Curator of the General Ethnology Section (among his many titles) of the Penn Museum, traveled to Cuba to investigate the existence of an un-acculturated indigenous group in the mountains of eastern Cuba. Culin’s journey, which lasted a few weeks, took him to Havana and points in eastern Cuba, including El Caney, […]


In the Alaskan Wilderness, 1907

Mt. Denali from the North, Alaska, 1907.  From a sketch by G. B. Gordon from a point on the Kantishna just below the fork.  Charcoal drawing on board by M. Louise Baker, 1917.  Penn Museum image no 171578

By: Alessandro Pezzati

In 1907, George Byron Gordon (still as Curator of the General Ethnology Section; he would assume the Directorship of the Penn Museum in 1910) led a small ethnological reconnaissance to Alaska. He had been there in 1905, traveling along portions of the Yukon River. This time, accompanied by his brother, MacLaren Gordon, he traveled to […]


#ArchivesMonth

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By: Eric Schnittke

Since the 1990s, the archives profession has used October as a rallying point for advocacy for the important work that archivists do. What was once a week honoring archives has now become a month and is now known as Archives Month (#ArchivesMonth). Whether assisting researchers, preserving documents, or relating a historical anecdote, archivists across the […]


Ancient Repairs at Ur and the Power of Bitumen

35-1-127: a leg and foot of a figure with a repair at the ankle.

By: Tessa de Alarcon

One thing that we all love to find on objects in the Museum collections are ancient repairs.  These are repairs made to an object during its period of use. So, imagine that mug you use every day for your morning coffee.  One day that mug breaks and you fix it with Super glue and go […]


Confronting Death at the Penn Museum

This is me, up-close and personal with our mummy Nespekashuti.

By: Molly Gleeson

After three years of working on ancient Egyptian mummies In the Artifact Lab, I’ve gotten used to being around death every day. And, in reality, all of us here at the Museum are surrounded by death – many artifacts in our collection were excavated from tombs and relate to funerary practices and provide intimate connections […]


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. […]


The Golden Age of King Midas

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