Dig at Abydos Yields Important Discoveries About Egypt's First Dynasty
25 MARCH 2004, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The practice of sacrificial burials at First Dynasty (ca. 2950-2775 BC) royal tombs and enclosures has been suggested by Egyptologists since the late 19th century but never proved. However, archeologists working in the desert sands of Abydos, Egypt - more than eight miles from the river Nile - have uncovered strong evidence to suggest that the custom did exist. Moreover, recent excavations have also discovered two new mortuary enclosures - and the royal owner of one has been positively identified.
16 JANUARY 2004, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, a new book by Dr. Gregory Possehl, Asian Section Curator of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, has been awarded the prestigious Choice Magazine Award for Outstanding Academic Book for 2003.
A leading expert in the history and archaeology of the ancient Indus Civilization, Dr. Possehl has been engaged in archaeological research in India and Pakistan since 1964. His research interests have taken him from Iron Age megaliths to Mesolithic encampments, and he has directed excavations at Rojdi in Gujarat and, currently, Gilund in southern Rajasthan, India. In addition to his curatorial position at UPM, Dr. Possehl is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Find Provides New Insight into Widespread Trade, Cultural Exchange in Region
03 JUNE 2003, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Excavating at the ancient town of Gilund in southern Rajasthan, India, one of the largest sites of the little-known Ahar-Banas culture, archaeologists led by teams from the University of Pennsylvania Museum and Deccan College, Pune, India have discovered a bin filled with more than 100 seal impressions dating to 2100-1700 B.C. The existence of the seals, and their particular styles, offer surprising new evidence for the apparent complexity of this non-literate, late and post-Indus Civilization-era culture, according to Dr. Gregory Possehl, UPM curator and excavation co-director.
Conservation Made Possible in Part with IMLS Matching Grant
01 JUNE 2003, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Seven ancient ceramic coffins from the southern Mesopotamian site of Nippur in present-day Iraq - all part of the University of Pennsylvania Museum's Nippur collection and the only such coffins in the United States - will receive the conservation they need, thanks in part to a prestigious matching grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency. The year-long conservation project will be carried out by independent conservator Julia Lawson with the advice and assistance of Virginia Greene, the Museum's Senior Conservator, and Dr. Richard Zettler, Penn Museum's Associate Curator in the Near East section.
Symposium Offered in Celebration of "Worlds Intertwined: Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans," Permanent New Suite of Classical World Galleries
28 FEBRUARY 2003, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The Etruscan civilization, the preeminent culture of central Italy from 800-100 BC, has attracted a renaissance of interest among scholars and the public in recent years. From the Etruscan alphabet and the language, to the furnishings, architecture, fashion and city planning initiatives, these inventive pre-Roman people have left an enduring legacy. They shocked Greeks and Romans with the freedom of their women, their technological prowess, and their control of the sea—and then gradually lost it all to Rome's military campaigns. Yet, with little in the way of actual Etruscan texts preserved, the cultural artifacts that remain—strange, beautiful, sometimes seductive or frightening—pose challenges to archaeologists and historians eager to tease out a better understanding of the Etruscan contributions to the Roman culture that eventually subsumed them.
First Example Ever Found of These Special-Use Bricks, Known from Ancient Texts to be Used in Childbirth
01 JULY 2002, PHILADELPHIA, PA—University of Pennsylvania Museum archaeologists have discovered a 3700-year-old "magical" birth brick inside the palatial residence of a Middle Kingdom mayor's house just outside Abydos, in southern Egypt. The colorfully decorated mud birth brick-the first ever found-is one of a pair that would have been used to support a woman's feet while squatting during actual childbirth.
Anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday Seeks to Redefine the Meaning of Matriarchy In Women at the Center, New Book Detailing Her Research among the Minangkabau
01 MAY 2002, PHILADELPHIA, PA—For the last century, historians, anthropologists and other scholars have searched both human history and the continents to find a matriarchy-a society where the power was in the hands of women, not men. Most have concluded that a genuine matriarchy does not exist, perhaps may never have existed.
Anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday disagrees. After years of research among the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Indonesia, she has accepted that group's own self-labeling, as a "matriarchate," or matriarchy. The problem, she asserts, lies in Western cultural notions of what a matriarchy "should" look like-patriarchy's female-twin.
Project to Create World's First Dictionary of the First Written Language Gets Re-Defined in New Age of Internet Communications Technologies
02 APRIL 2002, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology's Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project was awarded a two-year, $302,000 grant from the National Endowment of Humanities, an independent federal agency.
04 JANUARY 2002, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Discovery of grisly evidence of strangulation and decapitation, and bizarre arrangements of human and animal bones, has solved the longstanding mystery about the Celtic presence at Gordion, Turkey, where the University of Pennsyvlania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has been excavating since 1950. The chronologically rich site, long renowned as the capital of Phrygia in the 8th century B.C. and the center from which the famed King Midas once ruled, is about 60 miles southwest of Ankara in central Turkey.