University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Iraq


Ur Project, January 2016: A Tour of Ur

Field photo 1884 (left, 1930) and modern equivalent (right, 2015) showing Straight Street from the southeast.

By: Brad Hafford

Ur, Then and Now Comparing photos from the field and from a recent visit Field photos no. 454 and 1884 with equivalents taken in 2015 I’ve been studying the ancient city of Ur for more than a decade, but due to the struggles the nation of Iraq has endured I’d never been able to visit […]


Ur Digitization Project: November 2015

Parthian horse and rider figurine from Nippur.

By: Brad Hafford

Horse and Rider at Ur A look at U.20055 (Museum Object Number: 35-1-114) And other horse and rider figurines When did the people of Mesopotamia first start riding horses? It’s a straightforward question but it has a somewhat complicated answer. First of all, the true horse (Equus caballus) was a relatively late entry into Mesopotamia […]


Ancient Repairs at Ur and the Power of Bitumen

35-1-127: a leg and foot of a figure with a repair at the ankle.

By: Tessa de Alarcon

One thing that we all love to find on objects in the Museum collections are ancient repairs.  These are repairs made to an object during its period of use. So, imagine that mug you use every day for your morning coffee.  One day that mug breaks and you fix it with Super glue and go […]


Ur Project: September 2015

What animal is it? U.12772, 31-17-322

By: Brad Hafford

An Ubaid Period Quadruped Figurine from Ur Another Game of ‘What Animal Is It Anyway?’ U.12772 (Museum Nr. 31-17-322) I’ve been looking into the theme of transportation in the ancient world lately and attempting to use the information and artifacts we are gathering and presenting at Ur-Online to research the question. How was transport displayed […]


Ur Project: August 2015

Sample note card from Legrain's research. The category for the figurine is in blue pencil at bottom.

By: Brad Hafford

Researcher Notes and Intern Work Spotlight on Legrain note cards (and the interns who helped with them) Including a special look at model brick(?) U.7587 (Museum Object Number: B17216) Near the end of the old Ur excavations, Father León Legrain (Penn Museum Babylonian Section Curator at the time) began writing two volumes for the Ur Excavation series. […]


Daggers and Fighting Knives – Ur Project: July 2015

Ashur-Nasir-Pal II Palace Relief and Mustafa Barzani

By: Kyra Kaercher

Daggers and Fighting Knives from Ur Sheath pseudomorphs on copper alloy blades (B17506 and 30-12-288) from Ur. Over the past two months I’ve been examining metal tools and weapons from Ur and have now completed the analysis.  The last few trays of objects were bladed tools and weapons such as axes, chisels, razors, and dagger/knives […]


Ur Project: June 2015

RAF aerial photo of Ur in May 1926 showing extensive Woolley excavations and TTC (though note there is another mystery trench to the west of the Temenos).

By: Brad Hafford

Mapping the Early Trial Trenches at Ur Reconstructing the sequence of excavation A look at TTA-TTG as archaeological contexts Locating Woolley’s trenches on a map is a trying exercise. In most cases he did not record the locations of exploratory excavation trenches specifically, as he was less concerned with them than with the location of […]


Portraying Nippur: Artist Osman Hamdi Bey’s Early Relationship with the Penn Museum

"At the Mosque Door"

By: Hannah Effinger

The Penn Museum is perhaps best known for its impressively large and varied collection of artifacts spanning practically the entirety of human existence, but recently visitors were given a special chance to step into the Museum Archives to learn about some unexpected items housed in the Museum—two paintings and the unique ties they have to […]


Ur Project: May 2015

x-ray of U.8783 (B17463) with comparison to published pin types from Ur

By: Brad Hafford

Metal Tools and Weapons from Ur With yet another look at U.8783 (Penn Museum Number: B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 More than 40 years after he excavated at the ancient city of Ur, Sir Max Mallowan had this to say: “There is still much to be gained through the analysis of Woolley’s […]


Beauty Is Pain: A New Look at the Toiletry Kits from Ur

Examples for toiletry kits found on the internet: 1) 1-200AD, Rhineland, Roman Athlete’s kit 2) 400-700 AD, Oxfordshire, Anglo-Saxon toiletry kit  3) 800-1169AD, Ireland, Model of a Viking toiletry set 4) Our modern day version of a similar kit

By: Kyra Kaercher

Toiletry kits have been found around the ancient world from the Indus Valley to Britain, and range in time from the 3rd millennium BCE to the modern day, albeit in varied forms.  Nearly every publication that mentions these artifacts acknowledges that we do not know how they were used, but most interpret them as dealing […]


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