University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Maasai Life

By: jenjen

I am Jennifer Chiappardi, one of the photographers at Penn Museum.  I am currently working with Kathleen Ryan in Kenya.  The team was recently excavating in Laikipia.  My children, Sara and Zac, and my niece, Beverly, have joined the team to travel to Maasai land.  Berverly is 16, Sara is 12 and Zac is 7.  […]

All the Pretty Photos

By: Amy Ellsworth

I have been uploading images on a very slow international DSL connection so I haven’t been able to post all of Jenn’s photography on the blog posts. See all the photos on flickr or in this slideshow: Created with flickr slideshow.

Calling all Kenyans

By: Amy Ellsworth

Jenn, Bill and Komande photographed the 13 cairns around Mpala Ranch and found four more. The cairns seem to pop up everywhere, but it takes a keen eye to distinguish a random pile of rocks from a burial cairn. They usually have a reinforced edge around the perimeter, but this isn’t always obvious. Peter, from […]

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. […]


By: Amy Ellsworth

We divided the luggage into mushable and non-mushable piles, jammed the mushables into the back of the van and headed north with Komande, me, Bill, Simon, Paul Watene, Chris, and Mulu mushed into our seats. Komande drove us through some of the most amazing countryside, punctuated every few miles with small towns, some of which […]

Jambo Nairobi!

By: Amy Ellsworth

The past few days are a blur. After 30 hours of travel, the bulk of which included meandering deliriously around the Johannesburg Airport, we finally made it to Nairobi. Kathleen’s old friends, Joseph and his son Justus met us at the airport and drove us to the United Kenya Club conveniently located between the National […]

Hurry Up and Wait

By: Amy Ellsworth

We still don’t know if the new cloud of volcanic ash is going to affect our flights in and out of Amsterdam later today. We’ve been monitoring the flight status but it’s all still up in the air! All my clothes, boots, and equipment are still in piles. I can only commit to packing under […]

Maasai Mama

By: Amy Ellsworth

Kathleen was telling me about some of the people we will be meeting including Paul Kunoni, our Maasai translator and other archaeologists from the National Museum of Kenya, when she referred to a Maasai woman as her “co-wife.” Risking bad manners for the sake of curiosity, I asked her what she meant by co-wife… She […]

Gearing Up

By: Amy Ellsworth

Kathleen Ryan, Associate Curator of the African Section at the Penn Museum, approached me months ago about going to Kenya with her team to video tape her research on the Laikipia Plateau. “Sure!” I said, thinking I would never get approval from above. It seemed like too much of a fantasy opportunity to ever materialize […]

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