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.


Celebrating 50 Years of Professional Conservation at the Penn Museum

By: Nina Owczarek

The Conservation Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall. The lab was first established in 1966 and is one of the first archaeology / anthropology conservation labs in the US staffed by professional conservators. In the early years, the focus was on conservation treatments. But under the leadership of Virginia Greene, who began working […]

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Blue lines: multispectral imaging for pigment identification

By: Nina Owczarek

Visible-induced infrared (IR) luminescence is the invisible light that some materials produce when they are excited with visible light. We can capture that invisible light with a modified camera and use it to identify those materials and find out where they are. For those of you who follow the Artifact Lab Blog, this technique will […]

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When what you see is not what you get

By: Nina Owczarek

The museum is getting ready to install an exhibition on this year’s Penn Humanities Forum theme: Color. This alabaster head from South Arabia (30-47-17A) was selected for the exhibition to help illustrate how representations of human heads were achieved in stone in a variety of cultures and throughout time. When it first came to the […]

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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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Magic in the Ancient World

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