Category Archives: Egypt

Willard Libby, Alfred Nobel, and Ahanakht

Graph taken from publication of Libby's Nobel Laureate address, showing Penn Museum's own Aha-Nakht[sic] as one of the baseline known dates.

How cool is this?  While working on a post for our Artifact Lab blog, I Googled Ahanakht, the ancient Egyptian buried in an elaborately inscribed wooden coffin in our collection.  Besides learning that Ahanakht I was the first Middle Kingdom governor of the Hare nome (province) in around 2000 BCE, I got a result citing […]

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Mummies on the move!

A coffin (left) and storage box with mummies (right) being transported through the Egyptian galleries.

No, the mummies haven’t come to life-that only happens in the movies (think the 1932 original “The Mummy”). We are in the final stages of preparing In the Artifact Lab for the opening on Sunday, September 30, and we’re moving several mummies and other objects from storage to their new digs up on the 3rd […]

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Prep-work for In the Artifact Lab

Papyrus samples-aged and unaged

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Conservators work hard to prevent things from deteriorating, but we occasionally like to destroy things (gasp!). Maybe it’s because we have devoted so much of our lives to saving things, or maybe it’s because we normally have to tend to such minute details so carefully […]

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Coming Soon: Shabti Display

The Penn Museum’s Egyptian Mummy exhibition will soon include a new display highlighting the museum’s shabti collection. Shabtis – small, funerary figurines, either mummiform or in civilian dress – were important components of Egyptian funerary culture from the New Kingdom (ca. 1550 – 1070) onwards. Shabtis were believed to help perform labor for the tomb […]

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Ostrich Eggs

Ostrich eggshells have had a long history in the art and commerce of Africa. Back in 1987, David Conwell from Penn’s Classical Archaeology department published an article in the Penn Museum Expedition Journal about the implications about Libyan trade drawn from analysis of ostrich eggshell fragments. Conwell suggests that the shell fragments give us a […]

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Can You Caption This Photo?

Please write my caption here or here!

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Something’s Fishy in the Palace of Merneptah: Graffiti in Ancient Egypt

Visitors to our Lower Egyptian gallery are struck by the colossal scale of the architecture on display there.  Towering columns, massive doorways and an enormous gateway entrance – all of which speak to the power of the Egyptian pharaoh.  One is impressed when looking at this monumental architecture, but very detached. There’s a reason for […]

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Beneath the Surface at the Penn Museum