University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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The Workers of Ur – Ur Project May 2016

Local Sheikhs at Ur, taken during the first season (1922) when Woolley was establishing himself with the locals. UPM Field Photo 190027.

By: Kyra Kaercher

Charles Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Ur (1922-1934) occurred during a time of change in Iraq. After WWI, Iraq became part of a British Mandate, with Faisal I as King. Iraq was an area filled with both sedentary and traveling tribes led by Sheikhs. In the new nation of Iraq, archaeological sites, and their remains, belonged […]


Boys of Sumer: Nasir and Clarence – by Kamillia Scott

Nippur Timebook

By: Sarah Linn

This is part of a series of three blog posts by the 2015-2016 Penn Museum Fellows. The Penn Museum Fellows program is a new initiative that aims to support and promote advanced undergraduate research at the Penn Museum. As a Penn Museum Fellow I have worked with an abundance of materials in the Archives, and […]


Buddhist Medicine

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By: Stephen Lang

The Asian Section is happy to host a guest blog post by C. Pierce Salguero, Assistant Professor of Asian History and Religious Studies at Penn State University’s Abington College. He is the author of Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China, published by Penn Press in 2014. (Photo selection and captions by Stephen Lang) Medicine in Early Buddhism Knowledge […]


Eastern Turkey Feather Headdress

Examining headdress styles at the Penn Museum. In the center is a Haudenosaunee gustoweh, topped with curling partridge and hawk feathers.

By: Margaret Bruchac

This object analysis was conducted for the Spring 2016 course Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast. Students are studying Native American objects in the Penn Museum collections by combining close material analyses (elements, construction, design, condition, etc.) with other forms of evidence: textual, photographic, historical, and ethnographic. In many cases, the objects we’re studying have little to no provenance data. So, we are […]


Considering the Feather Headdress

Cabinet card showing a group of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) medicine show entertainers. Period inscription on the back of the card reads: “Caughnawaga [Mohawk] Indians with the Kickapoo Medicine Company. Season 1891. R.W. Telford, Manager.” Photos courtesy of Gerry Biron. Private collection.

By: Margaret Bruchac

During the Spring 2016 course Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast, students are studying Native American objects in the Penn Museum collections by combining close material analyses (elements, construction, design, condition, etc.) with other forms of evidence: textual, photographic, historical, and ethnographic. In many cases, the objects we’re studying have little to no provenance data. So, we are seeking out similar objects, reaching out […]


Of Daggers and Scabbards: Evidence from Organic Pseudomorphs and X-Radiography

The image on the left shows B17506 under raking light.  The drawing on the right shows the pattern of the scabbard in blue.

By: Tessa de Alarcon

As part of the Ur Digitization Project, I have been spending time looking at the metal tools from the site.  As Kyra Kaercher has already noted in her blog post, many of the copper alloys from Ur have organic pseudomorphs.  These are sort of like fossils, in that they are organics which have been preserved […]


Ancient Ur and Historic Iraq: Woolley’s 11th Season

Photo taken by Father Leon Legrain in Ur season 4 (1925-1926. At center is Hamoudi's son Yahia who was in charge of photography and here he carries the photo tripod. At left may be his brother Ibrahim, though evidence tends to indicate he bean work only in the following season 5.

By: Brad Hafford

Ur Digitization Project Blog, March 2016 Spotlight on Archival Documents Field Report dated December 31, 1932 Over the past few months I’ve been going over the reports that Leonard Woolley sent from the field 80-90 years ago. This analysis is helping to create pages at Ur-Online that track the yearly progress of excavation. We have collected the field reports […]


#MyPennMuseum – Perspectives: Penn Students on Their Penn Museum

Michael Freeman

By: Stephanie Mach

Everyone has their own experience with the Penn Museum. Join us as we uncover the many ways Penn students, both undergraduate and graduate, engage with the Museum’s many opportunities. Interviews by Leo Page-Blau, Penn Museum Student Engagement Assistant. Name: Michael Freeman Hometown: Walton, NY Year: Junior Dream Job: Classics Professor Favorite Penn Museum Gallery: The […]


Adventure Calls: The Life of a Woman Adventurer

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By: Kyra Kaercher

Ur Project February 2016 “Perhaps the presence of a lone woman with four men in camp makes a more interesting figure for some of them than the outline of ziggurats” (G. Gordon letter to L. Woolley concerning Katharine Menke Keeling, July 8th 1926). Life on a dig is always exciting, and particularly when it is the […]


What’s in a Name?

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By: Kate Pourshariati

Chanthadeth Chanthalangsy has a complicated life history to go with his multi-syllabic name. Having a Lao father and a Cambodian mother, his name reflects a choice of necessity made by his parents before immigrating, as you will see in his short film below. Some footage from the Museum Archives’ Watson Kintner Collection of Cambodia and […]


The Golden Age of King Midas

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