Category Archives: Iraq

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

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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Ur Project: March 2015

Screen shot from Ur-Online showing the assemblage from EHG46. This view was obtained by searching G46 in the main search box.

Toward a Digital Research Tool Spotlight on EHG46: Larsa/Old Babylonian grave assemblage Example usage of the Ur-Online test site We have opened our digital research tool — www.ur-online.org — in a test version to researchers around the world. This month I want to show one way it helps to speed up research by organizing contextual […]

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Ur Project: February 2015

31-17-403 after opening the crate and pulling back the burlap

Deep Pits and Early Burials (Again) Spotlight on 31-17-403: Uruk Period Skeleton from Ur Penn Museum’s second rediscovered skeleton The documentation that led to the rediscovery of an ancient skeleton from Ur in the Penn Museum’s storerooms last year showed that two skeletons had been received in March of 1931. This month we have located […]

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Ur Project: January 2015

Leica Picture

Pseudomorphs on Metal Objects from Ur A closer look at U.14097 and U.9134 (Penn Museum Nr. 31-17-241 and B17476) Chisels from PG 1653 and PG 537 —- This month’s Blog entry is written by researcher Kyra Kaercher with technical assistance from conservator Tessa De Alarcon. Special thanks to the Conservation Department for the macro photo […]

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Ur Project: December 2014

X-ray of tool B17463, rotated 90 degrees from the previous image and at a different wavelength showing less of the bitumen.

Tool Complete with Handle (Again) Comparisons to and a closer look at U.8783 (Penn Museum Nr. B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 With the expansion of the Penn Museum’s scientific lab and teaching space (Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials, CAAM) the Museum has acquired a digital x-ray suite. This new […]

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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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