University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Archives Photo of the Week: Mummy Bundles


By: Eric Schnittke

This week’s photo of the week comes from Pachacamac in Peru. The Penn Museum excavations at Pachacamac were led by Max Uhle, a German philologist and archaeologist who was continuing the work that he had undertaken for the Ethnological Museum of Berlin. Uhle’s explorations of South America lasted from 1895 to 1897. Featured in the image are […]

Mummy Mask [Object of the Day #109]


By: admin

This Egyptian funerary mask from the late Ptolemaic or Roman Period (after 300 BCE) has a gilded face to suggest that the deceased had joined the gods in the afterlife.  It meant that now, the owner had skin and bones of gold, just like the gods. On the headdress, alternating stripes of gold and blue […]

Willard Libby, Alfred Nobel, and Ahanakht

Graph taken from publication of Libby's Nobel Laureate address, showing Penn Museum's own Aha-Nakht[sic] as one of the baseline known dates.

By: Lynn Grant

How cool is this?  While working on a post for our Artifact Lab blog, I Googled Ahanakht, the ancient Egyptian buried in an elaborately inscribed wooden coffin in our collection.  Besides learning that Ahanakht I was the first Middle Kingdom governor of the Hare nome (province) in around 2000 BCE, I got a result citing […]

The Artifact Lab takes shape

Project Conservator Molly Gleeson comes face to face with one of her prospective 'clients'

By: Lynn Grant

Last week the preparations for the Artifact Lab (see my previous post) really began to gather speed.  On Monday, Molly Gleeson the project conservator arrived and was immediately plunged into the preparations. Molly, a graduate of the UCLA/Getty program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, has experience and interest in public outreach regarding […]

Mummy Case of Nebnetcheru [Object of the Day #38]

Nebnetcheru Coffin Lid from Thebes, ca. 1085-730 BCE

By: Jennifer Houser Wegner

Today’s object of the day is a new addition to the galleries. This colorful and beautifully decorated cartonnage mummy case lid is now on display in the Secrets and Science gallery. What is cartonnage? Cartonnage is a material consisting of several layers of linen or papyrus pasted together and covered by a thin layer of […]

Coming Soon: Shabti Display

By: Gabrielle Niu

The Penn Museum’s Egyptian Mummy exhibition will soon include a new display highlighting the museum’s shabti collection. Shabtis – small, funerary figurines, either mummiform or in civilian dress – were important components of Egyptian funerary culture from the New Kingdom (ca. 1550 – 1070) onwards. Shabtis were believed to help perform labor for the tomb […]

Mummy of the Month: Pachamac Mummy Bale No. 26626

By: Gabrielle Niu

Starting in January of 1896, Max Uhle began his excavation of the Pachacamac cemetery in Peru. The site consisted of graves from different eras, but the best preserved layer dated from the late 6th century CE. From this site, the Museum has many objects in its collections (click here to see a few). The tombs from the 6th century layer […]

And the Winner is…

By: Josh

Congratulations to Renee Campbell for winning the “Silk Road Smile Contest”. Here is the caption you all voted for… “Eyebrow maintenance is important! I am so happy I brought my brow-waxer with me to the after-life!” Thanks to everyone who participated!

For the good of the exhibit

By: Allison Francies

Down in the exhibits department, we’ve been busily working on the upcoming Secrets of the Silk Road exhibit. There is a lot to create, coordinate, and figure out with an exhibit this size. One thing we really wanted to focus on for this exhibit was adding experiences where the visitors can interact with the exhibit. […]

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