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.


An Evening to Imagine Africa

By: Tom Stanley

Penn Museum held its first Imagine Africa Community Night, sponsored by Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell—and more than 500 people came out to dance, drum, listen to spoken word poetry, tour the Museum’s new Imagine Africa gallery project and visit throughout the galleries.  In addition to the live entertainment and workshops, the night featured a craft […]

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Ostrich Eggs

By: Gabrielle Niu

Ostrich eggshells have had a long history in the art and commerce of Africa. Back in 1987, David Conwell from Penn’s Classical Archaeology department published an article in the Penn Museum Expedition Journal about the implications about Libyan trade drawn from analysis of ostrich eggshell fragments. Conwell suggests that the shell fragments give us a […]

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Imagine Africa: World’s Most Ancient Painters

By: Gabrielle Niu

Imagine the world’s oldest painting kit. Last week, Science Magazine published an article on the 2008 archaeological discovery of two 100,000-year-old abalone shells that contain traces of the first known mixed paint. A team of researchers led by Christopher Henshilwood of the University of Bergin, Norway excavated the shells in the Blombus Cave at the […]

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An ancient image of childbirth…TMI?

By: Ardeth Abrams

Photo by Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas A ceramic fragment less than 1 ¾” by 1 ¼” depicting the earliest known childbirth scene in western art was recently found in Italy. It shows the head and shoulders of a baby emerging from a mother who had her knees raised, her face in profile, and a […]

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In Case You Missed It… Dr. Tukufu Zuberi on the XPN Morning Show with Michaela Majoun

By: Tom Stanley

On October 20 the XPN Morning Show with Michaela Majoun featured an interview with Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations at the University of Pennsylvania. Their conversation focused on Dr. Zuberi’s work as host of the PBS series “History Detectives,” a role he has filled for nearly ten years. After an […]

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How to Make West African Lamb and Plantain Gravy

By: Amy Ellsworth

Chef Roshan Martin from our Peppermill Café prepares a traditional West African meal with a twist on the NBC10! Show in honor of the Imagine Africa gallery project.

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Penn Museum Featured on NBC10 Go Global Stay Local: Africa

By: Josh

Kate Quinn, Director of Exhibits is featured in this video spot on NBC 10 highlighting some of the African cultural experiences West Philly has to offer including our Imagine Africa project.

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Penn Professor Featured on the XPN Morning Show with Michaela Majoun

By: Tom Stanley

Penn Museum is hitting the airwaves! Tune in tomorrow (Thursday, October 20th) to the XPN Morning Show with Michaela Majoun on 88.5 FM for a short interview with Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, filmmaker, human rights activist, and host of the PBS series “History Detectives.” […]

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ZAP! pXRF at the Penn Museum

By: Nina Owczarek

The Conservation Department now has a portable x-ray fluorescence analyzer (or pXRF) courtesy of the 1956 Otto Haas Charitable Trust.  This is great news for the lab, since now we can answer frequently asked questions without having to consider destructive testing.  As stewards of our world’s material culture, this is a great new advantage! XRF […]

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The Philadelphia Writing Project Partners with the Penn Museum

By: guestblogger

by Diane Waff Practice Professor, Penn’s Graduate School of Education The Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP) and the Philadelphia Arts and Education Partnership ( PAEP), the local affiliate for the 2012 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, launched their call for submissions in the Rainey Auditorium at the University of PA Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The […]

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Magic in the Ancient World

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