Category Archives: Iraq

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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Dispatches from Iraqi Kurdistan: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Iraqi Kurdistan, northeast Irac

May 11 Good morning from Doha in Qatar! Every field season starts with getting to where you work. Often, this seemingly simple task can become its own odyssey. Many research projects are located in the countryside, far from the international airports of the cities. Depending on their situation, archaeologists in the Middle East use a […]

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Dispatches from Iraqi Kurdistan: The Rowanduz Archaeological Program 2014

Gird-i-Dasht

May 10 Like swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, archaeologists are once again arriving at excavations all over the world. This summer, Penn students and faculty are back in Iraqi Kurdistan for the second season of the Rowanduz Archaeological Program (RAP). As a field director, I’m one of the first to arrive and one of […]

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Ur Digitization Project: April 2014

Bottom of Field card concerning PG778, containing drawing of U.10183

Artifact of the month Spotlight on Field Number U.10183 (Museum Number B17249) ‘goddess-handled’ jar In our recent investigations of pottery from Ur housed at the Penn Museum we have seen more than 1300 pieces, measuring, describing, photographing, recording condition, and making repairs or other treatments for those in need. In some cases we are removing […]

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Anzu and “the chicken from …”

Anzu attacks!

Upon hearing of the newest dinosaur – the Anzu wyliei – I grew slightly more excited than your average dinosaur fan. The paleontologists gave a shout out not only to a trustee’s grandson (Wylie) but more exciting to me, to a Mesopotamian bird often seen with the body of an eagle and the head of […]

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The Ur Digitization Project: The Largest Jar!

Field Photo from Pit F showing an excavated kiln still containing pottery

While working on the Ur Digitization Project and the condition assessment of the ceramic vessels from Ur, I often find myself thinking about how they were made.  Once in a while I notice features that help illuminate that question.  My favorite example of this is 31-16-160, which is described in our database as, “pottery, the […]

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Ur Digitization Project: February 2014

Map from UE7 showing Old Babylonian site with late grid placement: original designators have been placed over their excavation areas.

Site Records Mapping Woolley’s Notes Spotlight on Letter Designators for area excavations found in Ur notes and reports As we go through Woolley’s field notes from his excavations at the ancient city of Ur we learn more and more, not just about the buildings and artifacts he found, but about the way in which he […]

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