University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Museum

Worth the Wait – Michael Freeman

The full skeleton. Photo by Michael Freeman.

By: Anne Tiballi

Apollonia Pontica was a 7th century Greek colony dedicated to Apollo. The well-placed port town, located on the Black Sea coast of modern-day Bulgaria, would stand through Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman times until it was ultimately rechristened “Sozopol” during the Christian era, meaning “The City of Salvation” in Greek. The Milesians who laid the foundations […]

After Excavation Ends, the Real Work Begins – Kurtis Tanaka

Byzantinist George Makris resurveying fields. Photo by Kurtis Tanaka.

By: Anne Tiballi

For a grad student in archaeology, summers usually mean being on the move, to sites, cities, and schools. Certainly this was true of mine—a simplified itinerary would look something like this: Athens, Rome, Athens, Berlin, Thessaloniki, Komotini, Istanbul, and Athens again. A peripatetic summer such as this reflects the many necessities and duties (or perhaps […]

Gather ‘Round the Pleistocene Fire – Aylar Abdolahzadeh


By: Anne Tiballi

Les Eyzies, located in the Périgord region, is one of the most beautiful towns in southwestern France. This region is rich with rock shelters, prehistoric caves, medieval castles, and archaeological materials. Hotels, restaurants, stores, and local markets are crowded with tourists who want to know everything about this part of France’s culture and the region’s […]

The Hypocaust that Never Was, or, the Case of the Missing Floor- Jane Sancinito

Me in “my”  trench, working on cleaning off wall rubble and roof tiles. Behind me, the wall of phase two.

By: Anne Tiballi

This summer I traveled to Transylvania, Romania, to break ground on what is believed to be the central building of a Roman-era villa complex. The site is just outside a small village about a half an hour outside of Deva, the regional capital, and sits at the foot of a majestic volcanic plug, Magura Uroiului. […]

Colonial DNA at Our Finger- (and Toe-) Tips – By Raquel Fleskes

Avery’s Rest bone samples before DNA sampling. Photo by Raquel Fleskes.

By: Anne Tiballi

In the middle of the sticky mid-June heat, I arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee, with six skeletal samples, a car full of chemical reagents, and the mindset to learn how to do ancient DNA extraction. With help from the Penn Museum, I was able to travel to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to work with […]

Entre Brechitas y Carreteras : The Possibilities of Museum-led Maya Language Education in the Yucatan Peninsula – Frances Kvietok

5.	Done! One group places down their model for the group exhibit. Photo by Frances Kvietok Dueñas.

By: Anne Tiballi

As kids arrive to the Museo de la Guerra de Castas (Caste War Museum) located in Tihosuco, Mexico, they are greeted by Bety and Antonia, two of the museum’s cultural promoters, and myself in Yucatec Maya. ‘Ma’alob k’iin’ (Good day!), ‘Bishabel?’ (How are you?). Some children reply with a shy smile, some respond in Maya […]

Sunset over Gordion – Braden Cordivari


By: Anne Tiballi

My favorite time of day at Gordion is from the late afternoon into the early evening, between 5:30 and 8 pm or so, when the sun is just starting to set and the whole valley begins to cool down. Everything is lit with a soft raking light, and if you’re lucky enough to be out […]

Indigenous Literacies in Multilingual Times – Aldo Anzures Tapia

Norma (sitting besides me) and Bety in the main driving seat (literally) proofreading the second to last version of the comic book.

By: Anne Tiballi

Maya is an Indigenous language with relatively high vitality in Mexico. Yet, recent language studies have noted that many native Maya speakers are shifting rapidly to Spanish. The University of Pennsylvania Cultural Heritage Center has established a partnership with the Caste War Museum in Tihosuco (a Maya community in Quintana Roo, Mexico) in order to explore this shift. This partnership, […]

Contemplating the Void: Peopling the Past in Living History Museums – Lise Puyo

Caption: Diorama of two men exchanging wampum and beaver furs, at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. Photo by Marge Bruchac.

By: Margaret Bruchac

Every year the Penn Museum provides support to Penn undergraduates and graduate students as they deepen their understanding of the human experience outside the Museum’s walls. Follow these blog posts from our intrepid young scholars as they report on the sights and sites that they encounter throughout their travels in the field. Report from the field […]

Digging Deeper at Gordion

Sarah Leppard, who is supervising the western trench, gives instructions to Işık Abaci (Istanbul University) and Braden Cordivari (University of Pennsylvania).

By: Tom Stanley

When it comes to the Citadel Mound at Gordion—the primary focus of the Gordion Archaeological Project’s work this year—one thing is quite clear, even to a newcomer such as myself: this is a very large site. As I mentioned before, it measures 450 x 300 meters, which equals roughly the size of 19 American football […]

Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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