University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Iraq


Of Daggers and Scabbards: Evidence from Organic Pseudomorphs and X-Radiography

The image on the left shows B17506 under raking light.  The drawing on the right shows the pattern of the scabbard in blue.

By: Tessa de Alarcon

As part of the Ur Digitization Project, I have been spending time looking at the metal tools from the site.  As Kyra Kaercher has already noted in her blog post, many of the copper alloys from Ur have organic pseudomorphs.  These are sort of like fossils, in that they are organics which have been preserved […]


Ancient Ur and Historic Iraq: Woolley’s 11th Season

Photo taken by Father Leon Legrain in Ur season 4 (1925-1926. At center is Hamoudi's son Yahia who was in charge of photography and here he carries the photo tripod. At left may be his brother Ibrahim, though evidence tends to indicate he bean work only in the following season 5.

By: Brad Hafford

Ur Digitization Project Blog, March 2016 Spotlight on Archival Documents Field Report dated December 31, 1932 Over the past few months I’ve been going over the reports that Leonard Woolley sent from the field 80-90 years ago. This analysis is helping to create pages at Ur-Online that track the yearly progress of excavation. We have collected the field reports […]


Adventure Calls: The Life of a Woman Adventurer

191132

By: Kyra Kaercher

Ur Project February 2016 “Perhaps the presence of a lone woman with four men in camp makes a more interesting figure for some of them than the outline of ziggurats” (G. Gordon letter to L. Woolley concerning Katharine Menke Keeling, July 8th 1926). Life on a dig is always exciting, and particularly when it is the […]


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 […]


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