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 a topic of interest, please use the Blog Search function.


Ur Digitization Project: November 2012

Field photo number 1617: RAF photo of the Ur ziggurat in 1930

By: Brad Hafford

Archival documents of the month Spotlight on Field Photo Numbers 912, 1616, 1617, and 2350) The Enormity of the Task I’ve been on the road most of this month in meetings and conferences in both London and Chicago. At these meetings I and many others involved have been promoting the Ur project and reporting on […]

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Archaeology: Remembering the Human Element

By: Tom Pedrick

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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Archaeology and Empire: The Role of The Great Powers

By: Tom Pedrick

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 As a whole, these historical documents are fascinating; they provide insight into not only Ur, but the political history of the 1920s in the Middle East.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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Mummy of the Month: Pachamac Mummy Bale No. 26626

By: Gabrielle Niu

Starting in January of 1896, Max Uhle began his excavation of the Pachacamac cemetery in Peru. The site consisted of graves from different eras, but the best preserved layer dated from the late 6th century CE. From this site, the Museum has many objects in its collections (click here to see a few). The tombs from the 6th century layer […]

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Digging at Clifford Rocks

By: Amy Ellsworth

Mulu’s philosophy on the mental state of archaeologists There are elephants outside my banda right now. I can hear them trumpeting. I also found out that the whooping noises are hyena. As the ascari (guard) walked me through the darkness, I shined my flashlight into the acacia bushes and saw the most sinister eye shine. […]

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Guano and Sacrificial Pigs

By: Amy Ellsworth

Last night we missed a big party at the camp. They held a ceremony called a Bar Sri in Thai for Mu’s last day on excavation. Everyone sat around an offering of duck, beer, bananas and chips with candles flickering. Everyone tied white string around each others’ wrists and incanted a blessing: “May you live […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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