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.


Ruins and Rock Art Along the Road to Illomas – Katherine Morucci

Rock Art in the Basin . Photo Credit: Katherine Morucci

By: Sarah Linn

Every year, the Penn Museum provides support to Penn undergraduates and graduate students as they deepen their understanding of the human experience outside the Museum’s walls. Follow these blog posts from our intrepid young scholars as they report on the sights and sites that they encounter throughout their travels in the field. August 15, 2015 […]

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Quartz Crystals and Camelids; Why They Chose Cuncaicha – Katherine Morucci

Cuncaicha rock shelter

By: Anne Tiballi

Every year, the Penn Museum provides support to Penn undergraduates and graduate students as they deepen their understanding of the human experience outside the Museum’s walls. Follow these blog posts from our intrepid young scholars as they report on the sights and sites that they encounter throughout their travels in the field. August 1, 2015 […]

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Happy 159th Birthday Max Uhle (1856-1944): Father of Peruvian Archaeology

Border Textile, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 29684

By: Lee Roueche

“In Americanist studies the first thing that had to be done was to introduce the idea of time, to get people to admit that the types could change over time.” -Max Uhle, May 15, 1923 Today, March 25th 2015, marks the 159th birthday of the German archaeologist, Max Uhle, who excavated in Peru for the […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Mummy Bundles

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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 […]

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A really big show

An example of a very large textile that wouldn't fit in our standard cabinets.

By: Lynn Grant

One factoid about the Museum that never fails to amaze in conversation is the estimate that what’s on exhibition is less than 5% of our total collections.  The usual response is, “where’s the rest of the stuff?”  The answer is ‘in storage’.  The Museum has a whole array of storerooms (my usual joke is that […]

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Sustainable Preservation Initiative

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By: Larry Coben

As both a Penn Anthropology PhD and a Museum Consulting Scholar, I am extremely concerned with saving our shared cultural heritage, whose study allows us to know so much about both the past and who we are today. And having worked in extremely poor communities where so many archaeological sites are located, I want to […]

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Effigy Vessel [Object of the Day #64]

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By: Alyssa Kaminski

This is a red ware ceramic vessel with red and white paint. It is in the shape of a warrior kneeling on his left knee and grasping a war club with both hands. He wears a short skirt and a sleeveless shirt which are both fringed and spotted. On his head is an elaborate headdress worn […]

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Andean Jaguar Effigy Mortar [Object of the Day #56]

Andean Jaguar Effigy Mortar

By: Bob Thurlow

Consider the jaguar. Oft overshadowed by its more regal and striped cousins, this big cat is just as impressive. As the dominant non-human predator in most of the Western Hemisphere, jaguars have been held in esteem for thousands of years, resulting in a wide-range of artwork … but you would never know it by visiting […]

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Pachacamac Survey Project: Wrapping Things Up

By: Fran Baas

It’s hard to believe that our year here is coming to an end. We’re wrapping up the final details and writing our final reports on our IMLS Pachacamac Survey Project.  When I wrote my last blog post, we were in full photography and housing mode.  I am delighted to report that we have finished that […]

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Pachacamac Survey Project: Ceramics Update

Team Pachacamac (Top left) Jacob Bridy, Elizabeth Levitz, Laura Walsh, Nicole Bull, Hong-Gyu Shin (Bottom left) Elissa Meyers, Fran Baas, Ainslie Harrison

By: Ainslie Harrison

So we are almost at the end of our IMLS survey of Pachacamac textiles and ceramics. As mentioned in previous blog posts, this one-year grant covers a detailed condition assessment, photography, and rehousing of the archeological textiles and ceramics from Max Uhle’s 1896 excavation at Pachacamac, Peru.  We have gotten a lot done over the last 10 […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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