University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Physical Anthropology

Confronting Death at the Penn Museum

This is me, up-close and personal with our mummy Nespekashuti.

By: Molly Gleeson

After three years of working on ancient Egyptian mummies In the Artifact Lab, I’ve gotten used to being around death every day. And, in reality, all of us here at the Museum are surrounded by death – many artifacts in our collection were excavated from tombs and relate to funerary practices and provide intimate connections […]

The Krapina Neanderthals – Paul Mitchell

Paul marvels at the Neanderthal teeth from Krapina with Davorka Radovčić of the Croatian Natural History Museum.

By: Anne Tiballi

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. Although Neanderthal specimens […]

Ur Project: February 2015

31-17-403 after opening the crate and pulling back the burlap

By: Brad Hafford

Deep Pits and Early Burials (Again) Spotlight on 31-17-403: Uruk Period Skeleton from Ur Penn Museum’s second rediscovered skeleton The documentation that led to the rediscovery of an ancient skeleton from Ur in the Penn Museum’s storerooms last year showed that two skeletons had been received in March of 1931. This month we have located […]

Special visitor in the Artifact Lab

Photo from the 1972 autopsy. Dr. Michael Zimmerman (left) cuts into the mummy's wrappings with a Stryker saw, assisted by Dr. Aidan Cockburn (center) and Dr. Al Ryman (right).

By: Molly Gleeson

If you ask me, there is always something interesting going on in the Artifact Lab, and yesterday was no exception. If you have been following the Artifact Lab blog, you will know that we have been working on one of the mummies in our collection, who we refer to as PUM I. PUM stands for […]

Seek and Ye Shall Find

By: Paul Mitchell

More updates on the dig in Laikipia, Kenya, to come soon. I’m cooking up a longer post, but it needs to simmer for a while. For the moment, enjoy these beautiful molars that we’ve uncovered!

Kenya 2012: A Petit Primer on the Genetics of Lactase Persistence – The Suckling Saga 2/2

By: Paul Mitchell

(Continued from the first part of this post: “Lactation, Lips, and Other Mammalian Curiosities”) Now, consider the facts in the first part of this post about the mammalian milk bar and take a look at these orphan elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. I visited these trunky critters with Kathleen and Louise […]

Kenya 2012: Lactation, Lips, and Other Mammalian Curiosities – The Suckling Saga 1/2

By: Paul Mitchell

Below you’ll find some of the thoughts that have bubbled up in my mind while I’ve been pleasantly bumbling about Kenya. All of these things connect to the project which we’re undertaking in some way, but I hope you’ll indulge by ramblings on natural history just a smidgen, even if they seem somewhat far afield […]

Kenya 2012: Bones, Bodies, Misbehavior*

By: Paul Mitchell

Note: The internet comes and goes at Kenya in the moment. Mostly goes. As such, this post is a few days late. Pardon our tardiness. We’ll get back on schedule lickety-split. ***** I would say the weather in Nairobi is temperate. Gray clouds floated by today without dropping their contents, except for the short but […]

Dead Men of Duffy’s Cut

By: Amy Ellsworth

More than 175 years ago, a ditch in Chester County became a mass grave for 57 Irish immigrant railroad workers, thought to have died of cholera. Now, a team that includes a Penn scholar and student is digging deeper into the lives – and deaths – of these laborers. Dr. Janet Monge, curator of physical […]

World’s Oldest Child Found in Morocco

By: Amy Ellsworth

Dr. Harold Dibble and his excavation team at Smugglers’ Cave on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco found the skull of the “world’s oldest child.” Rigorous dating techniques have determined the age of the skull to be around 108,000 years old. Analysis of the teeth tells us that the boy died at around six years of […]

Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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