University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Welcome to the Penn Museum blog. First launched in January 2009, the Museum blog now has over 800 posts covering a range of topics in the categories of Museum, Collection, Exhibitions, Research, and By Location. Here you’ll hear directly from our staff and Penn students about their work, research, experiences, and discoveries. To explore the Museum's other digital content, visit The Digital Penn Museum.


Teens and Trowels, Cultural Heritage Education at Gordion, Turkey

Irem and Berna

By: Naomi Miller

By Naomi F. Miller, Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, and Janelle Sadarananda This post is part of a series reporting on the Gordion Cultural Heritage Education Project, conceptualized and led by Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, Assistant Director of the Gordion Project. Halil Demirdelen, Deputy Director of the Ankara museum, provided invaluable educational support. Naomi F. Miller, consulting scholar at the Penn […]

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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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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.

By: Brad Hafford

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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Updates from Thrace

Basketball in Pagouria: Tom Tartaron (UPenn), Elias Koytsoykanidis, Periklis Chrysafakoglou (Demokrates University, Komotini), and Simon Oswald (UCLA)

By: Samuel Holzman

The Molyvoti, Thrace Archaeological Project is a combined excavation/survey conducted jointly between Princeton University and the 19th  Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Komotini, Greece. It includes a fieldschool for undergraduates from Princeton as well as the University of Pennsylvania and Demokrates University, and a merry band of Penn archaeologists, including three graduate students […]

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Ur of the Chaldees Digitization: May 2014

Overlain images with outline of original Trial Trenches

By: Brad Hafford

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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Rediscovering a Forgotten Egyptian Pharaoh: A Penn Student’s Experience in the Field

Excavation site

By: Tom Stanley

In January, researchers from the Penn Museum made an historic discovery in Abydos, Egypt—unearthing the tomb and skeletal remains of a previously unknown pharaoh, Woseribre Senebkay, who reigned in the 17th century BCE. The finding was the culmination of work at the site that began in summer 2013 by a team led by Dr. Josef […]

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Ur Digitization Project: September 2013

A view down Straight Street (Division Street) in the 1930-31 season. UPM Archive photo 191883

By: Brad Hafford

Excavation of the ancient city, 1930-31 Season Spotlight on Domestic Area AH Reconstructing original house numbers and the process of their excavation One of the great accomplishments of the Ur excavation was the large extent of domestic architecture it revealed. Many early archaeological efforts focused almost exclusively on monumental structures and grandiose tombs. Woolley certainly […]

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Ur Digitization Project: June 2013

Field photo of Pit F at Ur, field season 1928-29

By: Brad Hafford

Artwork of the month Spotlight on museum number 31-10-1 Oil Painting of Ur It’s not often that I can discuss an oil painting that relates to the site of Ur, but this month I’m doing just that. In the 1930-31 season, the Woolleys received a distinguished artist guest, one Joseph Lindon Smith. Mr. Smith was […]

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Ur Digitization Project: February 2013

Ur excavation area EM, domestic architecture: published in UE7 1976, plate 122

By: Brad Hafford

Archival documents of the month Spotlight on Maps of Excavated Domestic Areas EM and AH Published in Antiquaries Journal 1927, 1931, and in Ur Excavations volume 7 My last blog post concerned the questions of the standard house in the period most revealed in Woolley’s excavations. Now I want to cover the larger concept of […]

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Defending Cultural Heritage: Protecting Historical Valuables

The headdress of Puabi as depicted in the late 1920s.  The headdress itself represents about two kilos of gold.

By: Tom Pedrick

Discovering unique artifacts in exotic lands has been the subject of countless explosive action films, adventure novels, and embellished storytelling, from the excavations of Heinrich Schliemann to those of Howard Carter. The human lust for treasure, especially gold, exists in the mind as a classic romantic adventure.  Thus, ancient sites across the world have been […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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