Category Archives: Museum

Archaeology at the border: survey and excavation in Xinjiang

The view from the site where I am excavating.

As far as archaeological fieldwork goes, there are certainly far less accommodating places than where I have fortunately found myself for three consecutive field seasons. My summer fieldwork in Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, a picturesque area of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region less than 30 km from China’s border with Kazakhstan, has offered just the […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Old School Cool

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This image captures Frank S. Speck, the son of noted anthropologist Frank G. Speck, sketching while in Saint-Augustin, Côte-Nord, Quebec. The younger Speck is seen drawing while two observers look on.

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Left Behind

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Some parents might find it difficult to let go of their children’s possessions–toys, trophies, mix tapes–when the kids move out and begin lives on their own. However, Carl Weiss, a member of the Museum’s Director’s Council, and his wife Andy decided to have some fun with an object left behind by their daughter, Alissa, C06. […]

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Survey Methodology in the Şərur Plain

Last day of auguring at Sədərək Settlement

Hello again from Azerbaijan, and günortanız xeyr (good day)! Our work on the Naxçıvan Archaeological Project Survey (Director: Dr. Emily Hammer, Oriental Institute) is proceeding smoothly here, but only two weeks remain on the survey before we wrap it up for the season. With so little time remaining, we are moving ahead full-steam to get […]

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Day of Archaeology 2014

This Friday, July 11 the Penn Museum is participating in a Day of Archaeology 2014, which is a communal project that invites people from all over the world who work, study, or volunteer in the archaeological field to share their day. The goal of the project is show the world “why archaeology is vital to […]

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Creating Beth Shean After Antiquity

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This spring, I had the opportunity to sit in on a graduate seminar focusing on the ancient site of Beth Shean in northern Israel (Beth Shean After Antiquity, taught by Dr. Robert Ousterhout). When I first registered, I expected the class to be similar to other archaeology courses I had taken – mostly lectures, discussions, […]

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Standing on Stilts: The Glazed Ceramics from Ur

Reconstruction of how stilt were used to stack bowls during firing

In my last blog post I wrote about the process for firing some of the unglazed ceramics from Ur and I thought I’d follow that up with some information about the glazed ceramics from Ur. The firing of glazed wares is different from unglazed ceramics in a few key ways.  First they have to be […]

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Shells & Nails on the Wampum Trail

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In May, my research assistants Stephanie Mach and Lise Puyo joined me for field research in the northeastern US and Canada, visiting nine museums, four tribal communities, and several private collectors to examine colonial-era wampum (woven shell bead) belts and collars. (For more details, see our blog, On the Wampum Trail.) Our travels on the wampum trail […]

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When what you see is not what you get

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The museum is getting ready to install an exhibition on this year’s Penn Humanities Forum theme: Color. This alabaster head from South Arabia (30-47-17A) was selected for the exhibition to help illustrate how representations of human heads were achieved in stone in a variety of cultures and throughout time. When it first came to the […]

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Digging up gold

32-27-1203. Gold earrings from Lapithos.

When Penn archaeologists opened Tomb 6A in Lapithos, Cyprus in 1931, they discovered gold ornaments almost immediately. According to Virginia Grace, who wrote about the tomb and its contents in the American Journal of Archaeology nine years later (vol. 44 no.1), the gold objects first drew the excavators’ attention because “one of them caught the […]

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