University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Archives Photo of the Week: Fun Find


By: Eric Schnittke

Every so often, you stumble across an oddity in the archives. This week, I found something that piqued my interest. A researcher was visiting the archives, looking through records from Erich Schmidt’s expedition to Persepolis, Iran. Part of this particular collection is a set of photo albums containing prints that Schmidt had collected  during his […]

Archives Photo of the Week: Halloween


By: Eric Schnittke

Halloween was yesterday and the Penn Museum Archives wanted to leave you with one last treat for the holiday. One of the spookiest images in our collection, this photo is of a cow’s skull mounted on a stick to act as a scarecrow in Damghan, Iran. Damghan is near the site Tepe Hissar, where the […]

Poems by Nizami from 1584 CE [Object of the Day #90]

Poems by Nizami

By: Bob Thurlow

Born in Modern-day Azerbaijan in the mid-12th Century, Nizami is often considered the most important medieval Persian poet and his works remained highly popular as modes of artistic expression long after his death. His master work, “The Quinary” or “Khamsa” – which entered the public realm about the same time that The Song of Roland […]

Mediterranean Quiver [Object of the Day #87]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

  Today’s object is only a fragment of a quiver that has been broken at the top. It is coated in a very dark green patina with a lighter, rough interior. The upper right hand corner of the inside has an area of red corrosion. This hints that a metal object may have come in […]

7,000 Year-old Wine Jar [Object of the Day #23]

7,000 Year-old Wine Jar

By: Amy Ellsworth

The practice of wine-making or viniculture can be traced back to the Neolithic period, 7,000 years ago when the first Eurasian grape vines were domesticated for this purpose. This “Wine Jar” was found at Hasanlu in Hajji Firuz, Iran. It has been reconstructed from multiple fragments. The jar is one of a series of jars […]

Female Figurine from Iran [Object of the Day #12]

Woman Figurine

By: Amy Ellsworth

This ceramic female figurine from Tureng Tepe, Iran was made around 3500 BCE. She is a burial offering and although she is not clothed, she is adorned with many bracelets, necklaces and an elaborate headdress. Penn Museum Object #32-41-25. See this and other objects like it in the Penn Museum Collections Database.

Fun Friday Image of the Week – Woman Smoking a Water Pipe, Iran 1932

By: Amy Ellsworth

A woman water pipe smoker “Kaliunchi” (‘nargilah’ in Arabic and Turkish) in a teahouse in Damghan, Semnan Province, Iran in 1932. Penn Museum Image #83371. Iran was an important part of the Silk Road trading routes. One of the many food items traded along the silk road was pistachios, a main export of Damghan. At […]

Fun Friday Image of the Week

By: Amy Ellsworth

Scarecrow with cow’s skull, 1932, Damghan, Iran. Penn Museum Image 83373.

Fun Friday Image of the Week – The Lovers

By: Amy Ellsworth

‘The Lovers’ from 1972 season at Hasanlu Hasanlu is an archaeological excavation site in Iran, Western Azerbaijan, Solduz Valley. Theses skeletons were found in a Bin with no objects. The only feature is a stone slab under the head of the skeleton on the left hand side (SK335). Penn Museum Image #97482. Find out more […]

How to protect your home and family, the Sassanian way.

By: Alison Miner

Ok, I’ll be honest. At first I just chose this image of an Aramaic incantation bowl as the fun friday image of the week because: “look! cute child-like monster drawings!”. But the more I learn about this esoteric corner of the archaeological world, the more relevant these little bowls become. For several hundred years between […]

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