University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Americas


Song of the Abalone: As Heard From Different Ears

By: Margaret Bruchac

Object Analysis by Katherine Ku Abalone shell is unquestionably beautiful. Its unassuming rough exterior only serves to make its iridescent and scintillating interior even more attractive in contrast, making it comparable in aesthetic value to materials like gold, silver, and gemstones. Beyond this surface beauty, abalone is simultaneously a living thing and a life-giving force, […]


Levi Levering’s Headdress: Blurring Borders and Bridging Cultures

By: Margaret Bruchac

The feather headdress labeled 38-2-1 in the Penn Museum Collection is richly colored and composed of many types of materials. It consists of a felt cap with a leather forehead band covered with a panel of vivid loomed beadwork (in orange, blue, yellow, and white tipi shapes) and two beaded rosettes (blue, yellow, white, and […]


Baffin Island Inuit Doll: Dressed to Care

By: Margaret Bruchac

Object Analysis by Anastasia Hutnick This Inuit doll and her parka, Objects NA2549 and NA2550, respectively, were acquired by the Museum in 1914 from collector Henry F. Ford. Ford also donated 59 other objects from the Hudson Bay Area, including various articles of clothing, toys, and tools. This doll with her parka, however, is the […]


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 […]


Object Matters: Considering Materiality, Meaning, and Memory

By: Margaret Bruchac

Report from the Fall 2017 Anthropology of Museums class How do Indigenous objects in museum collections “speak” to those who create, collect, curate, display, and observe them? The material traces in these objects obviously evoke connections to particular aesthetic values, beliefs, and practices, but do they also retain memories of the artisans who created them? […]


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 […]


Fieldwork in Vacationland – Megan Postemski

By: Anne Tiballi

This summer I conducted a survey of a frontier farmstead site in Deer Isle, Maine. When I tell people I do archaeology in Maine, they frequently ask a range of questions from “do you get to sail on a yacht?” to “have you seen a moose?” The answer to both remains (unfortunately) no. Despite the […]


Adventures in Kampsville – Marisa Reeves

By: Anne Tiballi

With the huge support from the Penn Museum Student Field Fund and the Women in Archeology scholarship through the Center for American Archeology, I went on what I can only characterize as my first adventure. Never have I ventured this far away from home, alone. I went on my first solo flight and arrived, a […]


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 […]


Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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