University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Americas


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 […]


A Tale of Two Cities: The Ancient Maya Site of La Florida and the Modern Town of El Naranjo

The view from atop one of La Florida’s pyramids. Photo by Joanne Baron

By: Joanne Baron

As we approach the coldest months of the year, all I can think about is sunny Guatemala, where I spent the month of July this past summer. I direct the La Florida Archaeology Project, together with my colleague Liliana Padilla. La Florida is an ancient Maya site, once known as the center of the Namaan […]


Wampum Field Report Part 2: Kaianerasere’Kówa – Stephanie Mach

Richard W. Hill Sr. explaining wampum imagery to the author. Photo by Dr. Bruchac.

By: Stephanie Mach

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. This is Part 2 […]


Wampum Field Report Part 1: Blueberry Stands, Beaver Dams, and Mannequins – Stephanie Mach

Sarah Parkinson (left) and Stephanie Mach studying ROM 911.3.130.B. Photo by Dr. Bruchac.

By: Stephanie Mach

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. This season I continued […]


In the Alaskan Wilderness, 1907

Mt. Denali from the North, Alaska, 1907.  From a sketch by G. B. Gordon from a point on the Kantishna just below the fork.  Charcoal drawing on board by M. Louise Baker, 1917.  Penn Museum image no 171578

By: Alessandro Pezzati

In 1907, George Byron Gordon (still as Curator of the General Ethnology Section; he would assume the Directorship of the Penn Museum in 1910) led a small ethnological reconnaissance to Alaska. He had been there in 1905, traveling along portions of the Yukon River. This time, accompanied by his brother, MacLaren Gordon, he traveled to […]


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 […]


Bienvenidos a La Selva – Whit Schroder

Mapping El Infiernito with a Total Station. Photo by Saul Ascencio

By: Sarah Linn

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. When we left […]


Quartz Crystals and Camelids; Why They Chose Cuncaicha – Katherine Morucci

Cuncaicha rock shelter

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. August 1, 2015 […]


The Great Parks of California

Sequoias at Yosemite

By: Lucy Fowler Williams

In June, I had the amazing opportunity to participate on a Penn Alumni Travel tour to the northern California National Parks including Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia.  We saw and learned so much that, among other things, the trip altered my thoughts about guided tours. If you want real R&R, expert insight into nature, history, […]


The Golden Age of King Midas

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