University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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 […]

The Museum Porch: Bicentennial Wedgwood Plates, 1940

Bicentennial Wedgwood Plate, 1940:
The Museum Porch by Thorton Oakley

By: Michael Condiff

I’m like the Museum in a sense that I’m a collector of things. I tend to be most interested in coins, which is why one of my favorite galleries at the museum is the Greece Gallery. There’s something interesting about currency and commerce; who and how many people held the currency, what was it used […]

Wine Jar [Object of the Day #118]


By: Josef Wegner

Most ancient Egyptian pottery tends to be very utilitarian: rough vessels used for day to day purposes, the pots and pans of the land of the pharaohs. Occasionally, however, Egyptian potters produced beautifully decorated wares. Techniques such as slipping and polishing, incised decoration, modeling, and painted decoration (as in this example) produced Egypt’s fine wares. […]

Mysteries of Kourion


By: Tessa de Alarcon

I am working on a year long project conducting a condition survey of the objects at the Penn Museum from Kourion, Cyprus, that were excavated under the direction of George McFadden. This may not sound all that glamorous, but it has some definite perks.  In particular it means that I get to examine and photograph […]

Cypriot Barrel Jug [Object of the Day #114]


By: Ann Brownlee

  This barrel-shaped vessel dates to the Cypro-Archaic I period, between ca. 750-600 BCE, and is from the island of Cyprus.  A fine example of the pottery style known as Bichrome IV, this unusual shape is decorated with a bold stylized bird flanked by rosette and lotus motifs painted in the black and brownish-red colors […]

Egyptian Jar [Object of the Day #108]


By: Josef Wegner

Egypt’s Predynastic Period (ca. 5000-3000 BCE) was a formative time when many of the key features of the civilization of the pharaohs took shape. One of the characteristic types of pottery of the Predynastic of Upper (southern) Egypt is D-ware (short for Decorated-Ware) as we see in this example from the site of Ballas. During […]

Minoan Marine Style Rhyton [Object of the Day #95]


By: Ann Brownlee

  This rhyton, decorated with six leaping dolphins against a rocky seascape, is an example of the Marine Style in Minoan pottery.   It has a hole at the bottom and may have been used for libations.  The lively Marine Style, with its depictions of dolphins, octopi, and other sea creatures amid rocks and seaweed, […]

Painted Jar [Object of the Day #93]


By: Josef Wegner

Painted jar from Karanog. The site of Karanog was located in Lower (or Northern) Nubia, now entirely flooded beneath Lake Nasser. In 1907-1912 this region was the focus for the first excavations of the Eckley Coxe Jr. Expedition of the Penn Museum. Karanog was once a flourishing town, and the administrative capital of Lower Nubia, […]

Earthenware Bowl [Object of the Day #78]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

  This earthenware bowl was created in New Guinea in the early 1900s. Earthenware is one of the oldest types of pottery. It is porous in texture and is usually fired at lower temperatures. The bowl has an elliptical shape with a rounded bottom and is decorated around the rim with moldings that include two animal-like handles. […]

Effigy Vessel [Object of the Day #64]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

This is a red ware ceramic vessel with red and white paint. It is in the shape of a warrior kneeling on his left knee and grasping a war club with both hands. He wears a short skirt and a sleeveless shirt which are both fringed and spotted. On his head is an elaborate headdress worn […]

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