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.


Creating Beth Shean After Antiquity

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By: Rebecca Vandewalle

This spring, I had the opportunity to sit in on a graduate seminar focusing on the ancient site of Beth Shean in northern Israel (Beth Shean After Antiquity, taught by Dr. Robert Ousterhout). When I first registered, I expected the class to be similar to other archaeology courses I had taken – mostly lectures, discussions, […]

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Mosaic Fragment [Object of the Day #124]

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By: Brian Rose

  Although this mosaic now stands as a wall within the Roman gallery, it originally formed part of a large house floor in one of the ancient Roman cities in Tunisia, probably Utica. The panel is over 2 m long and 1.3 m wide, and is dominated by a meander pattern composed of interlocking squares. […]

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Bronze Cuirass [Object of the Day #119]

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By: Ann Brownlee

  This heavy bronze cuirass served as a warrior’s chest protector.  Only the front part survives of what was originally a cuirass made of two pieces fastened at the shoulders and sides.  The surface is decorated with a raised geometric pattern of rows of triangles and dots.  The elements of the pattern meet at a […]

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Cypriot Barrel Jug [Object of the Day #114]

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By: Ann Brownlee

  This barrel-shaped vessel dates to the Cypro-Archaic I period, between ca. 750-600 BCE, and is from the island of Cyprus.  A fine example of the pottery style known as Bichrome IV, this unusual shape is decorated with a bold stylized bird flanked by rosette and lotus motifs painted in the black and brownish-red colors […]

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Sarcophagus [Object of the Day #110]

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By: Lynn Makowsky

The Etruscans buried their dead in stone and terracotta sarcophagi that were often elaborately decorated. This carved Etruscan nenfro (a type of volcanic stone) sarcophagus is one of five in the Museum’s collection. The piece dates to the 3rd  century BC and comes from a tomb excavated at the site of Civita Musarna, Italy in […]

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Consider the Mustache

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By: Bob Thurlow

Crumb duster, lip tickler, ‘mo – call it what you will, mustaches are an ever-present sight throughout human history. Since November is also Movember (a movement to promote awareness of Prostate and Testicular cancer), we decided to get in the mustachioed spirit and post an image a day of some of our favorite mustaches (with […]

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Mortuary Statue [Object of the Day #96]

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By: Gabrielle Niu

This limestone mortuary sculpture is from the ancient city of Palmyra in modern-day central Syria. Michael Danti dates this ornate statue to the 3rd century CE, a time when the city of Palmyra flourished under Roman rule as an important nexus of trade between the East and West. After Syria was established as a Roman […]

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Minoan Marine Style Rhyton [Object of the Day #95]

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By: Ann Brownlee

  This rhyton, decorated with six leaping dolphins against a rocky seascape, is an example of the Marine Style in Minoan pottery.   It has a hole at the bottom and may have been used for libations.  The lively Marine Style, with its depictions of dolphins, octopi, and other sea creatures amid rocks and seaweed, […]

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Mediterranean Quiver [Object of the Day #87]

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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 […]

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Etruscan Helmet [Object of the Day #72]

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By: Alyssa Kaminski

This Etruscan Commander’s Helmet was found in Narce, Italy, Tomb 43, as one of two found buried with the same warrior. The helmet is made from two sheets of hammered bronze, held together with large protruding rivets. It is decorated with lines and dots of various sizes that line the borders. As an incredible feature, […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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