University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Daggers and Fighting Knives – Ur Project: July 2015

Ashur-Nasir-Pal II Palace Relief and Mustafa Barzani

By: Kyra Kaercher

Daggers and Fighting Knives from Ur Sheath pseudomorphs on copper alloy blades (B17506 and 30-12-288) from Ur. Over the past two months I’ve been examining metal tools and weapons from Ur and have now completed the analysis.  The last few trays of objects were bladed tools and weapons such as axes, chisels, razors, and dagger/knives […]

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Ur Project: June 2015

RAF aerial photo of Ur in May 1926 showing extensive Woolley excavations and TTC (though note there is another mystery trench to the west of the Temenos).

By: Brad Hafford

Mapping the Early Trial Trenches at Ur Reconstructing the sequence of excavation A look at TTA-TTG as archaeological contexts Locating Woolley’s trenches on a map is a trying exercise. In most cases he did not record the locations of exploratory excavation trenches specifically, as he was less concerned with them than with the location of […]

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Ur Project: May 2015

x-ray of U.8783 (B17463) with comparison to published pin types from Ur

By: Brad Hafford

Metal Tools and Weapons from Ur With yet another look at U.8783 (Penn Museum Number: B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 More than 40 years after he excavated at the ancient city of Ur, Sir Max Mallowan had this to say: “There is still much to be gained through the analysis of Woolley’s […]

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Beauty Is Pain: A New Look at the Toiletry Kits from Ur

Examples for toiletry kits found on the internet: 1) 1-200AD, Rhineland, Roman Athlete’s kit 2) 400-700 AD, Oxfordshire, Anglo-Saxon toiletry kit  3) 800-1169AD, Ireland, Model of a Viking toiletry set 4) Our modern day version of a similar kit

By: Kyra Kaercher

Toiletry kits have been found around the ancient world from the Indus Valley to Britain, and range in time from the 3rd millennium BCE to the modern day, albeit in varied forms.  Nearly every publication that mentions these artifacts acknowledges that we do not know how they were used, but most interpret them as dealing […]

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Ur Project: March 2015

Screen shot from Ur-Online showing the assemblage from EHG46. This view was obtained by searching G46 in the main search box.

By: Brad Hafford

Toward a Digital Research Tool Spotlight on EHG46: Larsa/Old Babylonian grave assemblage Example usage of the Ur-Online test site We have opened our digital research tool — www.ur-online.org — in a test version to researchers around the world. This month I want to show one way it helps to speed up research by organizing contextual […]

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Ur Project: February 2015

31-17-403 after opening the crate and pulling back the burlap

By: Brad Hafford

Deep Pits and Early Burials (Again) Spotlight on 31-17-403: Uruk Period Skeleton from Ur Penn Museum’s second rediscovered skeleton The documentation that led to the rediscovery of an ancient skeleton from Ur in the Penn Museum’s storerooms last year showed that two skeletons had been received in March of 1931. This month we have located […]

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Ur Project: January 2015

Leica Picture

By: Brad Hafford

Pseudomorphs on Metal Objects from Ur A closer look at U.14097 and U.9134 (Penn Museum Nr. 31-17-241 and B17476) Chisels from PG 1653 and PG 537 —- This month’s Blog entry is written by researcher Kyra Kaercher with technical assistance from conservator Tessa De Alarcon. Special thanks to the Conservation Department for the macro photo […]

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Ur Project: December 2014

X-ray of tool B17463, rotated 90 degrees from the previous image and at a different wavelength showing less of the bitumen.

By: Brad Hafford

Tool Complete with Handle (Again) Comparisons to and a closer look at U.8783 (Penn Museum Nr. B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 With the expansion of the Penn Museum’s scientific lab and teaching space (Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials, CAAM) the Museum has acquired a digital x-ray suite. This new […]

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Ur Project: November 2014

Part of the original field card for PG 422, showing the tool as drawn and described by Woolley.

By: Brad Hafford

Tool Complete with Handle Spotlight on U.8783 (Penn Museum No. B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 The Ur Project database is shaping up well and as we add information to it, we have moved on to the examination of metal tools and weapons from the site in the Penn Museum. Recently we […]

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Ur Project: October 2014

Artist's reconstruction of PG789 death pit before the courtiers died. The chamber is seen in the background, taller than the people.

By: Brad Hafford

Tomb Fit for a Queen (and King?) Spotlight on PG789 & PG800 Royal graves that might or might not be linked In December of 1927, Leonard Woolley uncovered a pair of tombs that would become two of the best known from the Royal Cemetery at Ur, inspiring many newspaper and magazine articles and sparking the […]

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