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.


Great Ape Explorations in Washington, DC

By: Anne Tiballi

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

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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Taking the Time for Community Archaeology – Samantha Seyler

By: Anne Tiballi

This summer, with funds from the Penn Museum, I participated in the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project in Yucatán, Mexico. This project is a collaborative initiative sponsored by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, the Museum of the Caste War in Tihosuco, and the Tihosuco Ejido (land commune). Although the research area I am […]

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“Excuse Me Miss, What Newspaper Are You From?” – Leniqueca Welcome

By: Anne Tiballi

“I’m going to finish setting up here. Go ahead! You are free to talk to people and collect the information you need. You are very safe here [he smiled in reassurance]. Just let me know if you need anything, OK?” Anthony probably read my reluctance to leave his side that Saturday afternoon at the launch […]

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Walls, Walls Everywhere, and None of Them in a Line – Kurtis Tanaka

By: Anne Tiballi

Returning to a project after a few seasons absence can be at once rewarding and disorienting; rewarding to see the progress and preliminary results made in the meantime, disorienting to pick up where you remember leaving things when last you were there. Certainly this was my experience at the Gordion Project this summer, to which […]

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Beneath the Surface: Geoprospecting in Arkansas – Justin Reamer

By: Anne Tiballi

From May 15th to 19th, I attended the 2017 National Park Service Archaeological Geoprospection Workshop held at the Pea Ridge National Military Park (the site of the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River) in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. As an archaeologist whose research is focused on the northeastern United States, northwestern Arkansas was […]

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Cultural Heritage, Development, and Local Communities in Jordan and Egypt – Robert James Vigar

By: Anne Tiballi

This summer I traveled to Jordan and Egypt to conduct exploratory research for my thesis. As a first year PhD student in Anthropology this was an early opportunity for me to get out into the field and begin investigating the questions that have been fermenting in my mind over the past few years. Questions surrounding […]

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Writing the History of Gordion – Katherine Ku

By: Anne Tiballi

This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Yassihöyük, Turkey, to work as the registrar for the Gordion Archaeological Project. It was an incredible experience to become part of the story of such an important excavation – almost like becoming part of the history of the very place I was studying. Beyond this, […]

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