Category Archives: Iraq

Ur Project: November 2014

Part of the original field card for PG 422, showing the tool as drawn and described by Woolley.

Tool Complete with Handle Spotlight on U.8783 (Penn Museum No. B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 The Ur Project database is shaping up well and as we add information to it, we have moved on to the examination of metal tools and weapons from the site in the Penn Museum. Recently we […]

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A Queen, Dethroned (For Now)

PR_14_ReplacingPuabi_TAS_034

The centerpiece of the Museum’s Iraq’s Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur’s Royal Cemetery exhibition, and indeed a highlight of our entire collection, is the headdress and jewelry of Queen Puabi. Dating to some 4,500 years ago, her elaborate adornments included earrings, wreaths, rings, a comb, and a hair ribbon made of precious materials like gold, lapis lazuli, […]

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Ur Project: October 2014

Artist's reconstruction of PG789 death pit before the courtiers died. The chamber is seen in the background, taller than the people.

Tomb Fit for a Queen (and King?) Spotlight on PG789 & PG800 Royal graves that might or might not be linked In December of 1927, Leonard Woolley uncovered a pair of tombs that would become two of the best known from the Royal Cemetery at Ur, inspiring many newspaper and magazine articles and sparking the […]

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Ur Project: September 2014

Model head created by Katharine Woolley for display of Puabi's headdress. Penn Museum Archival Photo 191121

Gold Fit for a Queen (or) How to Wear a Headdress Spotlight on Puabi’s headdress (museum numbers B17711, etc.) Display of jewelry on model heads Royal Cemetery grave PG800 was excavated in December of 1927 (announced in a telegram of Jan 4, 1928). It contained the burial of a woman identified by a cylinder seal […]

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Dispatches from Iraqi Kurdistan: Survey Far Beyond the Hilly Flanks

View down into the Topzawa Valley. Hiked to current point surveying hill for archaeological remains. Steep way down!

Survey in the newly opened archaeological frontier of Iraqi Kurdistan comes with many challenges. Other reports from University of Pennsylvania graduate students on the project about various aspects of our work have been put up on the Beyond the Museum Walls blog but my own work deals specifically with the survey in our area. This […]

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Ur Digitization Project: August 2014

Location of Pit F. At left is an aerial photo from 1930, at right the location of the pit has been inserted into Woolley's map of Ur in the UrIII period (later than the Ubaid burial).

Deep Pits and Early Burials Spotlight on 31-17-404: Ubaid Period Skeleton from Ur More about the rediscovered skeleton from grave PFG/Z On August 5, 2014, the Penn Museum released a press announcement about a 6,500-year-old skeleton in its collection that had been reconnected to a key piece of its history by the Ur Digitization Project. […]

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Standing on Stilts: The Glazed Ceramics from Ur

Reconstruction of how stilt were used to stack bowls during firing

In my last blog post I wrote about the process for firing some of the unglazed ceramics from Ur and I thought I’d follow that up with some information about the glazed ceramics from Ur. The firing of glazed wares is different from unglazed ceramics in a few key ways.  First they have to be […]

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Ur Digitization Project: June 2014

Burials in Domestic Area AH. Those in red are listed in UE 7.

Combining Maps and More at Ur Spotlight on Domestic Burials in Area AH Observing patterns in spatial data at Ur with Geographic Information Systems I’m always happy when I can demonstrate the value of our project. We’re working with old data on even older objects, spending a lot of time and money organizing and reconnecting […]

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Ur of the Chaldees Digitization: May 2014

Overlain images with outline of original Trial Trenches

Combining Maps and More at Ur Spotlight on matching maps, satellite imagery, and aerial photos Observing connections in spatial data with Geographic Information Systems I’ve been in Iraq for the past two weeks. Part of that time has been spent teaching Iraqi archaeologists from Mosul University some of the latest techniques in analysis of archaeological […]

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Dispatches from Iraqi Kurdistan: On the Road Again

The falls at Gal-i Ali Beg

May 14 Driving in the United States does little to prepare you for the fluidity, and occasional terror, of driving in the Middle East. In major cities, like Cairo, Damascus, or Tehran, traffic ebbs and flows independent of the restrictions of lane designations and traffic laws. These exist, but they often appear to serve as […]

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