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.


Making the Familiar Strange: Reflections on Fieldwork at a Children’s Museum

By: Anne Tiballi and Elizabeth Oakley

An anthropologist, a 6-year-old, and a 4-year-old walk into a museum. Rather than a punchline to a bizarre joke, this is the scenario that defined my second summer of fieldwork at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (TCM). I had visited this museum so often when I was a kid, and I’ve always consider myself the […]

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Shuidonggou – A Time and Space Tunnel of China’s Archaeology Study – Li Li

By: Anne Tiballi and Li Li

Shuidonggou is a beautiful national park located in Ningxia province, North West China. The Shuidonggou Site is the earliest Paleolithic site in China, and is called the “Birthplace of Prehistoric Archaeology in China.” Shuidonggou was first discovered by a Belgian paleontologist named Kent while he was doing missionary work in China in 1920. He found […]

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Summer in Sant’Angelo Muxaro – Braden Cordivari

By: Anne Tiballi and Braden Cordivari

The town of Sant’Angelo Muxaro sits on a rocky crag above the Platanis River Valley in south-central Sicily, about an hour drive up into the mountains from the famous temples at Agrigento. I visited the site during a weekend trip away from excavating at Morgantina as part of Dr. Alex Walthall of University of Texas […]

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Getting the Right Perspective

By: Anne Tiballi and Emily French

This summer, I got to spend two awesome months in Italy. I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World program, recently recovered from my last year of coursework and PhD exams and about to jump headfirst into a dissertation. This summer was particularly valuable for me at this […]

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Juvenile Osteology Workshop: Analysis of the Individuals from Patakfalva

By: Anne Tiballi and Julia Simons

This summer, I attended a workshop on Juvenile Osteology in Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania. The students in the field school (“fieldies”) work at the excavation site, excavating, mapping, and pulling the skeletons buried at the church at Patakfalva, while the students in the lab (“labbies”) analyze the individuals excavated in previous field sessions. The individuals from […]

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Art or Ethnography?

By: Anne Tiballi and Christopher Green

Museums in the US, England, France, and throughout the world are full of objects collected during their respective colonial periods. Museums have been grappling with the colonial legacies embodied in their collections and how to represent them, and no singular answer has emerged. However, at the end of the 20th century, a movement pioneered by […]

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Great Ape Explorations in Washington, DC

By: Anne Tiballi and Alexandra Kralick

In curly browned script, on paper flaking in my hands, the inscription next to the specimen number read, “the leg and jaw were broken by fall from trees when shot. Had a young one with her.” Putting down W. L. Abott’s 1907 record book, I ran to the post-crania room and pulled out her bones. Sure enough, […]

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Language Expertise Is Not a Bounded Experience

By: Anne Tiballi and Aldo Anzures Tapia

The University of Pennsylvania has established a partnership with the Caste War Museum in Tihosuco, a Mayan community in Quintana Roo, Mexico, which has been materialized as the Tihosuco Heritage and Preservation Community Project. As an originally conceived public archaeology endeavor, this project has responded to the needs of the community by bringing expertise and […]

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Tracing the Threads of Early New France – Kelsey Salvesen

By: Anne Tiballi

As a PhD candidate in History, specializing in early North America and the French Atlantic (largely in the 17th and 18th centuries, with some spillover into the 19th century), my research has taken me to archives in a variety of cities in several different countries. Until this summer, I had chiefly worked with documentary archives—handling […]

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What’s the Deal with Roman Walls, Anyway? Autopsy and Analysis of Rome’s Topography – Jordan Rogers

By: Anne Tiballi

I was warned about the alluring charms of Rome before I left. “You’ll fall in love.” “Coming back will be difficult.” “It’s hot in the summer.” The latter statement admittedly more enticing than I had expected. I jokingly replied that I might just remain for the year—where else should I be doing my research, after […]

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