Category Archives: World

Anzu and “the chicken from …”

Anzu attacks!

Upon hearing of the newest dinosaur – the Anzu wyliei – I grew slightly more excited than your average dinosaur fan. The paleontologists gave a shout out not only to a trustee’s grandson (Wylie) but more exciting to me, to a Mesopotamian bird often seen with the body of an eagle and the head of […]

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The Ur Digitization Project: The Largest Jar!

Field Photo from Pit F showing an excavated kiln still containing pottery

While working on the Ur Digitization Project and the condition assessment of the ceramic vessels from Ur, I often find myself thinking about how they were made.  Once in a while I notice features that help illuminate that question.  My favorite example of this is 31-16-160, which is described in our database as, “pottery, the […]

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Rediscovering a Forgotten Egyptian Pharaoh: A Penn Student’s Experience in the Field

Excavation site

In January, researchers from the Penn Museum made an historic discovery in Abydos, Egypt—unearthing the tomb and skeletal remains of a previously unknown pharaoh, Woseribre Senebkay, who reigned in the 17th century BCE. The finding was the culmination of work at the site that began in summer 2013 by a team led by Dr. Josef […]

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Hot Pots, Museum Raids, and the Race to Uncover Asia’s Archaeological Past

Federal agents descend upon the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana during a raid in January 2008

It’s not every day that an archaeologist helps serve a Federal search warrant, never mind one that was part of a 500-officer dawn raid at multiple museums in California and Chicago. The search was for smuggled Thai archaeological artifacts, brought into the US since 2003 and added to museum collections under suspicious circumstances. To get […]

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Ur Digitization Project: February 2014

Map from UE7 showing Old Babylonian site with late grid placement: original designators have been placed over their excavation areas.

Site Records Mapping Woolley’s Notes Spotlight on Letter Designators for area excavations found in Ur notes and reports As we go through Woolley’s field notes from his excavations at the ancient city of Ur we learn more and more, not just about the buildings and artifacts he found, but about the way in which he […]

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Ur Digitization Project: January 2014

Legrain Photo of the site of Palmyra in Syria, 1926.

Personal Records, 1926 Continued Spotlight on Legrain’s travels through his Letters and photos We have now completed scanning the curatorial records of Father León Legrain, or at least those that most directly concern the ancient city of Ur. I have now read through many of them, particularly those sent to Penn Museum director George Gordon, […]

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Weapons and Fiber ID: Lapithos Survey Update

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 The condition survey of artifacts from Lapithos, Cyprus continues. In my first post, I introduced the intricate lively designs on ceramic vessels by potters from the Bronze Age. I recently took a break from pottery and turned to the handiwork of Cypriot metalsmiths. 320 pieces in the collection are comprised of metal. These include bowls, […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Bicycles, Horses, and a Golf Club

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The excavations at Nippur, Iraq are some of the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s most well known explorations. The seasons at Nippur resulted in numerous important artifacts and a plethora of new data and knowledge. Very serious work, however, calls for very serious party time. This week’s photo captures some downtime somewhere between 1899 and 1900. […]

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Syrian Archaeology

727px-Taller_Buddha_of_Bamiyan_before_and_after_destruction

We are all familiar with the images of the Buddhas of the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan as well as the heartbreaking image of the looting inside in the Baghdad Museum in 2003. All political statements aside, Syria has joined this list of destruction and devastation in the midst of its own civil war. Friday’s UNESCO […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Happy Turkey Day!

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Happy Turkey Day! … What, you expected an actual turkey? This week’s photo is a view of Istanbul (then Constantinople) and the Galata Bridge. The Galata Bridge spans the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait, the waterway that separates Europe and Asia. The Galata Bridge is now in it’s fifth build, with this photograph showing the […]

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