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 the Museum's other digital content, visit The Digital Penn Museum.

Goat to Sweater

Hatice, Metin, and Songül the kid

By: Naomi Miller

co-written by: Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann In thinking of ways to preserve the historic landscape around Gordion , Turkey, Ayşe and I thought the best approach was one that would give economic value to the land. Historically, mixed farming (sheep and goat herding and dry-farmed grain cultivation) were the basis of the economy. Now, however, creeping suburbanization […]

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Getting Ready at Pojoaque Pueblo

Paths of Beauty opens August 20 at Pojoaque Pueblo, New Mexico.

By: Lucy Fowler Williams

Paths of Beauty: Isabel Gonzales and Shawn Tafoya opens at Pojoaque Pueblo’s Poeh Cultural Center and Museum (in New Mexico) on August 20, just a month away! I am grateful and excited to be curating this exhibition about two of my favorite people, both dedicated teachers and specialists in Pueblo embroidery and pottery. We spent […]

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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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Navajo Rug [Object of the Day #61]

Navajo Rug

By: Ashley Harper

This rug is an example of the beautiful geometric design, colors and skill of the Navajo weaver. Rugs and blankets like these have been prized by Europeans for many decades, especially in the late 1880’s. The market created by Europeans has helped sustain artisans as well as introduced new materials and techniques to their traditions. […]

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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: Textile Update

By: Fran Baas

Time is quickly passing, but we are making great strides and accomplishments in the IMLS grant-funded Pachacamac Survey Project!  This one-year grant covers a detailed condition assessment, photography and rehousing of the archeological textiles and ceramics affiliated with Max Uhle’s 1896 excavation in Pachacamac, Peru.  All these steps (and a few more) are going on […]

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“Get Your Fiber On!”

By: Fran Baas

Last Friday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter proclaimed March “Fiber Art Month” during the opening ceremony of FiberPhiladelphia 2012!  In honor of that proclamation, I wanted to post a few photographs of some inspiring ancient Peruvian textiles I’ve seen during my IMLS-funded condition assessment survey. With simple tools, every process of textile manufacture was by hand. The thoughtful […]

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Meow! Ancient Peruvian Textile

By: Fran Baas

As I mentioned in my staff introduction, I am working at the University Of Pennsylvania Museum Of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) on a IMLS funded post-graduate conservation fellowship.  During this one year fellowship, my responsibilities include conducting a conservation assessment of approximately 2900 archeological textiles from Max Uhle’s excavation at Pachacamac, Peru.  The overarching […]

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Team Pachacamac

By: Ainslie Harrison

During the Pachacamac project Fran Baas and myself will move, survey, photograph, and rehouse 2800 textiles and 1000 pots (stay tuned for more about the survey process!). In order to complete this immense amount of work, we will be relying on our team of wonderful interns, volunteers, and work studies. While they come from different […]

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Fun Friday Image of the Week – 2,500 Year-old Dress Looks Like New

By: Amy Ellsworth

Pullover wool dress, ca. 5th-3rd century BCE. Excavated from Tomb No. 55 of Cemetery No. 1, Zaghunluq, Charchan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. © Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum. This is one of the objects coming to the Penn Museum in the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition in February 2011. I am trying to […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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