University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Archives Photo of the Week: Bicycles, Horses, and a Golf Club


By: Eric Schnittke

The excavations at Nippur, Iraq are some of the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s most well known explorations. The seasons at Nippur resulted in numerous important artifacts and a plethora of new data and knowledge. Very serious work, however, calls for very serious party time. This week’s photo captures some downtime somewhere between 1899 and 1900. […]

Ur Digitization Project: November 2013

Father Legrain working on cuneiform tablets at the Ur Dighouse

By: Brad Hafford

Father Legrain’s Records Spotlight on travel sketches Trip back from Ur, 1925 In both the 1924-25 and the 1925-26 seasons, Father León Legrain was the epigrapher at Ur–the person whose expertise was in cuneiform script and whose duty it was to investigate the clay tablets as they were found. Father Legrain was curator of the […]

The Salty Pots of Ur and the Desalination Station

Ceramics drying after desalination

By: Tessa de Alarcon

In July, I joined the Ur Digitization Project.  As a part of this project, I have been working on a condition assessment of the ceramics from Ur.  In doing the condition assessment I am looking at, measuring, and evaluating the stability of every ceramic vessel in the Museum’s collection from Ur.  So far I have […]

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 […]

Ur Digitization Project: August 2013

Gertrude Bell at the Ur dighouse

By: Brad Hafford

Reconstructing Excavation Processes Spotlight on Division of Finds: Penn’s acquisition of its Ur material Tens of thousands of artifacts were uncovered in the twelve years of excavation at the ancient city of Ur, from 1922-1934. The Ur of the Chaldees project, with lead funding from the Leon Levy Foundation, is still uncovering exactly where each […]

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 […]

Sic transit gloria mundi

Erbil citadel gate under construction

By: Lara Fabian

The title of this post is a phrase in Latin that means “Thus does the glory of the world pass by”—so fleeting are our worldly creations. It was the first response of a colleague of mine when we saw the construction site pictured below, because this is not just any construction site. What you’re looking […]

Eating Ice Cream in Erbil

The citadel of Erbil

By: Lara Fabian

The other night, we went out for a walk and I ate my first Iraqi ice cream. My name is Lara Fabian, and I’m a graduate student at Penn studying archaeology. Because of the generous support of the Penn Museum, I am working during the first part of this summer in Iraqi Kurdistan on an […]

Ur Digitization Project: May 2013

Part of the original field card and field photo of PG 627, which had a well-preserved bitumen boat.

By: Brad Hafford

Artifact of the month Spotlight on field number U.8847 (museum number B17313) Bitumen Model Boat This is a model of a marsh or river boat that was found in Trial Trench G in the Royal Cemetery area of Ur. Woolley in his field card does not record the exact tomb of this example, though U.8846, […]

Ur Digitization Project: April 2013

Field photo number 2048 showing artifact U.18001. More complete than 33-35-29, but the same imagery.

By: Brad Hafford

This month we have begun examining clay figurines from Ur. Our goal is to confirm museum object associations with field records. Here are two examples to show the process, challenges, and a little detail on the imagery: Artifacts of the month Spotlight on field number U.1527 (museum number B15689) and field number U.18001B? (museum number […]

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