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.


Nazca vs. Aliens

By: Bob Thurlow

Alleged alien encounters are not a modern-day phenomenon, yet we seem to actively incorporate those themes into the everyday life more than our predecessors. For decades, it seems there is at least one Hollywood blockbuster every summer that tackles the question of what would happen if extra-terrestrials contacted mankind. The most recent Indiana Jones flick […]

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Every Object Tells a Story

By: Bob Thurlow

The series’ lone flashback – a cut to a discovery of the Cross of Coronado by a boy scout Indy and the follow-up conversation with his dad (deeply in-thought with some grail lore) – sets up a movie that tends to focus as much on the history of the pieces as it does the actual […]

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Culture clash and the Temple of Doom

By: Bob Thurlow

It’s no secret that Dr. Jones, better known as Indiana, did not always use the methods that were very sensitive to local culture. In fact, it was even highlighted in a letter regarding his denial of tenure at his fictional college. But it was in Temple of Doom that Indy ran into his most diverse […]

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Raiders of the Lost Ark vs. Sitio Conte

By: Bob Thurlow

Raiders of the Lost Ark has one of the best opening sequences of any movie: booby-traps,  an enormous boulder, and an incredibly-close getaway. But what was it all for? Treasure … or the Chachopoyan Fertility Idol, to be more precise. Legend holds that the movie prop was based off the Tlazolteotl idol held by Dumbarton […]

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Indiana Jones and the Penn Museum

By: Bob Thurlow

A week of non-stop installation and the exhibit installation is nearing its conclusion, but before I go into further detail about why this exhibit is fascinating (aside from the obvious allure of Indy), I want to say that Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology is currently only scheduled to travel to non-U.S. venues. X3, […]

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Indiana Jones invades Montreal

By: Bob Thurlow

Thirty years after busting onto the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones remains one of the world’s most captivating characters and still the best liaison between the worlds of scholarship and intrigue. He began as a dynamic character causing swoons among his students and evolved into a movement all his own. Video […]

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The Indiana Jones Exhibition

By: Amy Ellsworth

Many staff members here are geeking out about the Indiana Jones Exhibition opening in Montreal in April. Penn Museum will be loaning many of the real artifacts that will be on display in this exhibition. We are all giddy about seeing them in the context of such a classic movie. The Museum is always abuzz […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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