Category Archives: Iraq

Ur Digitization Project: September 2012

Current object, U.8190, obviously broken at some time in the past 80 years. Scheduling necessary conservation is an aim of the Ur Project.

This month at the Ur Project has been very busy. We have two major arms of activity ongoing, archival and artifactual (if that’s a word). This blog entry will try to display both through a point of convergence: PG 143. PG stands for Private Grave, a designation Woolley gave to graves in a particular area, […]

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Archaeology: Remembering the Human Element

Within the relative comfort of a 21st century museum, it is easy to forget the sacrifices, challenges, and dedication involved in the discovery of antiquities. All too frequently when we see glamorous vases, sarcophagi glistening with gold, and jewelry enlivened with lapis lazuli, we assume that these objects tell the entire glorious story of both […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month, August 2012

Our current Ur digitization database contains all of the known links between museum artifacts and the information gathered in the field, but around 40% of the objects that were excavated at Ur are missing that connection. Time and storage, and even human error both in the field and in later inventories, have stripped away some […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month, July 2012

Photo of the ring showing individual spirals in rope design

Ur Digitization Project Artifact of the month Spotlight on Field Number U.12380 (Museum Number 30-12-553) Gold Ring from the ‘Great Death Pit’ This ring is made of a spiral coil of gold wire, twisted in places to make a cable or rope pattern. The ancient jeweler more than 4,000 years ago soldered the coil together […]

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Archaeology and Empire: The Role of The Great Powers

As a volunteer working on the Ur Digitization Project, I spent time examining and scanning a series of original letters pertaining to the 1922-1934 Ur excavation. As a whole, these historical documents are fascinating; they provide insight into not only Ur, but the political history of the 1920s in the Middle East. One particular letter […]

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Mystery in the Stacks: A discovery is made in the Museum Archives

What do the world’s best mystery author and the Penn Museum have in common? A lot more than you’d think. Agatha Christie’s books are famous as being some of the most thrilling novels ever.  Readers through the generations have relished her whodunits. We sit on the edge of our seats as Poirot twiddles his mustache […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month, June 2012

Near the end of May I had the privilege of giving a tour of the Penn Museum Mesopotamian storage to Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and many other excellent books, graphic novels, and stories of all sorts. I asked him what he would like to see and he said anything and […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month

Excavations at Ur, the ancient city said to be the birthplace of Abraham, were conducted jointly by the Penn Museum and the British Museum from 1922-1934. The artifacts were divided under laws of the time, with half remaining in the new country of Iraq and the other half split between the excavating institutions. Sir Leonard […]

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