University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Americas


Notes from the Field: On Watching and Waiting – Kathryn Diserens

By: Anne Tiballi

Tihosuco, Quintana Roo, Mexico May 29, 2017   If I were to characterize my field season up until this point in two words, they would be watching and waiting.  Now in my fourth year researching, working, and living in Tihosuco, located in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, I am […]


Fishing for Clues on the Smith Creek Archaeological Project

Ashley Terry sifts dirt through a 1/2-inch screen, during the Smith Creek Archaeological Project's 2015 season.

By: Tom Stanley

In addition to this Sunday, June 18 being Father’s Day, it’s also something called “Go Fishing Day”—at least, according to the Internet, it is. To me, it’s a leisure activity; to others throughout the history of the Americas, it’s been a necessity for subsistence. For those of us who don’t have time to drive out […]


Decolonizing Museums: A Visit to the Tomaquag Museum

By: Stephanie Mach

In June of 2016, the Wampum Trail research team visited the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island. Our team consists of Project Director Dr. Margaret Bruchac and two graduate students in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, Lise Puyo and myself, as research assistants. Funding from the Penn Museum has enabled us to visit museums […]


A New View of Laventille, Trinidad – Leniqueca Welcome

By: Anne Tiballi

With funding from the Penn Museum, this summer I was able to travel to Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island republic situated off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, to conduct anthropological pre-dissertation field research in an area popularly called Laventille. Laventille is now infamous among Trinbagonians as it has been labelled one of the country’s […]


Viewing Tihosuco – Kasey Diserens

By: Anne Tiballi

I have just completed my third field season in Tihosuco. My work is part of a larger community-based heritage preservation project run by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, part of the Penn Museum. My study is one of ten(!) sub-projects, all related to the history and heritage of Tihosuco, and many are focused on learning […]


VOICES CRYING IN THE REWILDERNESS: RE-WILDING THE WESTERN USA – Paul Mitchell

By: Anne Tiballi

In 1988, the author Kurt Vonnegut finished a letter to the “Ladies and Gentleman of 2088” with the following lines: * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living […]


Foray into the Forests of French Guiana – Megan Postemski

By: Anne Tiballi

Thanks to funding from the Penn Museum, I was able to participate in my first international archaeological excavation this summer. My destination was French Guiana (a department of France sandwiched between Suriname and Brazil) where I helped conduct an archaeological survey of the slave quarter at three different 19th-century plantations. This project represented the first […]


Contemplating the Void: Peopling the Past in Living History Museums – Lise Puyo

By: Margaret Bruchac

Every year the Penn Museum provides support to Penn undergraduates and graduate students as they deepen their understanding of the human experience outside the Museum’s walls. Follow these blog posts from our intrepid young scholars as they report on the sights and sites that they encounter throughout their travels in the field. Report from the field […]


Seeking Zen in the Museum Storeroom: What Do X-Files, Gurgling Sounds, and Museums Have in Common?

By: Lucy Fowler Williams

Something HUGE has been happening at the Penn Museum in one of seven American Section storerooms. For the past two years, downstairs in the sub-basement (the basement below the basement), in a room about the size of a football field, two small teams of Inventory Assistants have been moving carefully from shelf to shelf, checking […]


1966 Film Made in the Navajo Nation Gets Sound 50 years Later

By: Kate Pourshariati

Thanks to a unique set of circumstances a developing relationship has borne fruit this year for the Museum Archives. A film made in 1966 by Dr. Richard Chalfen, who generously donated his work to the Museum a few years ago, was never quite complete; it was lacking a sound track. In 2015 our Film Archivist […]


Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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