Category Archives: Museum

When what you see is not what you get

30-47-17Aat1

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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The Emergence of Ringo and Sobek

Ringo's Introduction

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 […]

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Ur Digitization Project: June 2014

Burials in Domestic Area AH. Those in red are listed in UE 7.

Combining Maps and More at Ur Spotlight on Domestic Burials in Area AH Observing patterns in spatial data at Ur with Geographic Information Systems I’m always happy when I can demonstrate the value of our project. We’re working with old data on even older objects, spending a lot of time and money organizing and reconnecting […]

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Identifying the Tejaprabha Mural

Sutra close-up

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the mural depicting Tejaprabha Buddha originally came into the museum and was published with the central figure identified as Sakyamuni Buddha.  However a few years later someone noticed that one of the figures on the left was holding a small book with an inscription on it.  It was […]

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I Spy with My Little Eye…

C:Scratchpad 056

One of the most amazing aspects of Buddhist murals condition survey is that it does not get boring. We are constantly discovering more details and quirks. While a regular, sharp-eyed museum visitor can see many of these details, some are impossible to truly appreciate without being fifteen feet tall and two feet from the mural. […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Mustache.

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The Penn Museum Archives is home to the archival collections of the directors of the museum. As you might guess, we have quite the fondness for them. None are more dear to me than George Byron Gordon and for one reason: that glorious, magnificent, noble mustache. Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum from 1910 […]

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Ur of the Chaldees Digitization: May 2014

Overlain images with outline of original Trial Trenches

Combining Maps and More at Ur Spotlight on matching maps, satellite imagery, and aerial photos Observing connections in spatial data with Geographic Information Systems I’ve been in Iraq for the past two weeks. Part of that time has been spent teaching Iraqi archaeologists from Mosul University some of the latest techniques in analysis of archaeological […]

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A Light Gone Out

Billy Frank Jr., Nisqually Tribe (1930-2014).

Indian Country lost a legend this month with the passing of Billy Frank Jr. (1930-2014).  Arrested for fishing on more than 50 occasions during his life time, Frank stood firmly for Civil Rights.  A man with clear vision and staunch determination, Frank walked with humility, strength and extraordinary kindness. During the “fish wars” of the […]

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The Cosmos in Storage

Ubaid columns, Enheduanna, and jewelry from the Royal Cemetery at Ur

 I know I’m not alone when I say that I get excited on Sunday nights to sit down and watch Cosmos. The re-envisioned Carl Sagan classic airs on Fox on Sunday nights with Neil deGrasse Tyson as host. I’m not going to gush about how he’s been my favorite astrophysicist since I basically learned what […]

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