Category Archives: Museum

A Summer Day in the Village of Yassıhöyük


Farmers and shepherds begin work at daybreak. Fields surround the village in a 2-5 km distance. At daybreak, with the call to prayer local farmers are on tractors and modern harvesters; lorries start rolling across the landscape loaded with migrant workers that include women and children. In the fields wheat and barley are checked for […]

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Sitio Conte in Real Time: January 26, 1940


Tire trouble near Penonome. En route Panama to Cocle 1/26/40 Taken by S.K. Lothrop The Masons running a rapid in the Rio Grande de Cocle. 1/26/40 Taken by S.K. Lothrop

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Sitio Conte in Real Time: January 20, 1940


We are going up to the camp early this afternoon to get things started, find out the lay of the land, and get a better idea of what to buy. J. Alden Mason to John Corning, January 20, 1940 Finally in Panama after their “swanky” voyage on the Grace Line, Mason wrote to John Corning […]

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Fall 2014 Roundup of Student Events

Halloween Party

[By Charlotte Matthai, member of the Clio Society–Penn Museum’s undergraduate student interest group] During the fall 2014 semester, Clio Society went behind-the-scenes of the Penn Museum, meeting some of the people who make all of it possible and exploring the mysteries and hidden gems of storage. We met Jenn Reifsteck from Public Programs, who trained us on […]

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Hands-on Learning: Artifacts, Microscopes, X-Rays, and Chicken

Students examine their obsidian tools for signs of use-wear.

This past fall, Professor Kate Moore’s freshman seminar Food & Fire: Archaeology and the Laboratory was the first course taught for the Penn Museum’s new Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM). During the course of the semester, students had the opportunity to examine some of the Museum’s extensive archaeological collections, which have been […]

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Sitio Conte in Real Time: January 9, 1940


“GOVERNMENT AUTHORIZES” -Schaeffer to Mason, January 9, 1940 On January 9th, Mason received this cable granting the Penn Museum permission for archaeological excavations in Panama at the site of Sitio Conte. The Museum’s agent in Panama, Charles Schaeffer sent a more detailed letter that same day stating that: “the Secretary of Public Instruction, this morning, assured […]

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Sitio Conte in Real Time: January 8, 1940

J. Alden Mason

Everything is unsettled and hectic. The expedition has been arranged so suddenly.  – Mason to Merrill, January 8, 1940 The chaotic nature of planning a last minute archaeological expedition was dragging upon Mason, as his letter of the 8th of January to Bob Merrill indicates. In it, he officially hires Merrill as draftsman for the expedition, saying: […]

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Teaching elementary languages in the Penn Museum


Since its founding in 1887, the Penn Museum has been an important hub for teaching and learning on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Penn undergraduates and graduate students have a unique opportunity to wander the galleries, delve into the archives, and ‘excavate’ within the Museum’s artifact collections as part of their coursework and individual research. […]

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Ur Project: December 2014

X-ray of tool B17463, rotated 90 degrees from the previous image and at a different wavelength showing less of the bitumen.

Tool Complete with Handle (Again) Comparisons to and a closer look at U.8783 (Penn Museum Nr. B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 With the expansion of the Penn Museum’s scientific lab and teaching space (Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials, CAAM) the Museum has acquired a digital x-ray suite. This new […]

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Teaching with Objects in ANTH 128: “Peopling Prehistory: Archaeology of Native North America”

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This course explored over 10,000 years of the North American archaeological record, investigating the unwritten histories and material evidence of Indigenous peoples prior to European contact. Throughout the class, archaeological studies of prehistory were interwoven with contemporary Native interpretations—much as they are in the Penn Museum’s Native American Voices exhibit. The students visited this exhibit […]

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