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.


Sheikh Hamoudi ibn Ibrahim and Ur

By: Kyra Kaercher

Ur Project Blog Post June 2016 Last month I wrote about the workers of Ur, and continuing in this theme, this post will focus on the foreman, Sheikh Hamoudi ibn Ibrahim. “In the handling of the men, he [Sir Leonard Woolley] enjoyed the support of Sheikh Hamoudi ibn Ibrahim whom he had trained for the […]

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The Workers of Ur – Ur Project May 2016

By: Kyra Kaercher

Charles Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Ur (1922-1934) occurred during a time of change in Iraq. After WWI, Iraq became part of a British Mandate, with Faisal I as King. Iraq was an area filled with both sedentary and traveling tribes led by Sheikhs. In the new nation of Iraq, archaeological sites, and their remains, belonged […]

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Adventure Calls: The Life of a Woman Adventurer

By: Kyra Kaercher

Ur Project February 2016 “Perhaps the presence of a lone woman with four men in camp makes a more interesting figure for some of them than the outline of ziggurats” (G. Gordon letter to L. Woolley concerning Katharine Menke Keeling, July 8th 1926). Life on a dig is always exciting, and particularly when it is the […]

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Ur Project: December 2015

By: Kyra Kaercher

Where are all the children? Focus on 32-40-29 (U.17820), B15695 (U.1211), 87-28-21 (U.3169), B15708 (U.1252) Children comprise between 40% and 65% of most documented social groups from foragers to industrialized nations, and as such, can be expected to have created portions of the archaeological record (Baxter 2005).  At Ur, we have many child burials, but artifacts […]

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Ur Project: October 2015

By: Kyra Kaercher

http://penn.museum/collections/object/283733Spiral pendants from the Near East Focus on 35-1-98C (no U number), B16370 (U.6800), B16794 (U.9351A). A special thanks to Dr. Sophie Cluzan (Curator of Near Eastern Archaeology at the Louvre), and Tessa de Alarcon, our project conservator, for the X-ray of 35-1-98C. The idea for this month’s blog post came while I was looking […]

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Daggers and Fighting Knives – Ur Project: July 2015

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

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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