University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: World


Ping!

By: Amy Ellsworth

Somehow, the ride back from Tham Luong Kwai did not seem as treacherous as the ride in. The loud metallic banging as we bottomed out every few feet did not trigger the same death siren in my head as it had before. I wonder if this is how these brave archaeologists, geologists and adventurers do […]


Land of Office Plants and Annuals

By: Amy Ellsworth

I slipped on a banana peel walking home from the internet cafe. I’m not sure if this has ever happened to anyone in the past century who was not a cartoon or a vaudvillian with a handle bar mustache. There are little bananas everywhere. They are the perfect size. By the time you get to […]


Morning in Tham Luong Kwai

By: Amy Ellsworth

The following morning I tried to make my way behind the hog pen and I couldn’t make a single move without triggering the attention of the crowd of children. I searched for a good spot and everywhere I looked was occupied with pigs, chickens, and children. I finally had to rig up a kind of […]


Tham Loum and Tham Dook

By: Amy Ellsworth

The night before leaving for the trip to the village of Ban Loum Kwai to collect more stalagmite samples and survey Tham Dook, we stopped at the night market to pick of some food for 9 people for two days and two nights. We splurged on 16 baguettes and bought some beautiful breads of varying […]


A Family in Every Pot

By: Amy Ellsworth

We made it back to camp after two days of driving a 1985 Hyundai van on steep single-track rock-strewn roads looking down at the tops of banana trees, negotiating with the village elders, hammering stalagmites, sleeping on concrete, crying at the site of someone’s dinner, having a personal moment with a large hog. And then […]


Guano and Sacrificial Pigs

By: Amy Ellsworth

Last night we missed a big party at the camp. They held a ceremony called a Bar Sri in Thai for Mu’s last day on excavation. Everyone sat around an offering of duck, beer, bananas and chips with candles flickering. Everyone tied white string around each others’ wrists and incanted a blessing: “May you live […]


Elephant Experience

By: Amy Ellsworth

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wSDH8QzaiQ&hl=en_US&fs=1&] Kathleen, Mick, Michael and I sat down to our yogurt (which is all we could safely digest) at cafe Joma and one of us finally admitted that we half regretted signing up to ride elephants on our day off. After trekking up and down mountains and sleeping on cement, all we really wanted to […]


Cute Overload Laos

By: Amy Ellsworth

I’m now laughing at the fear the travel medicine practitioner instilled in us about the local fauna. According to them we are to assume that every puppy we pass on the street has rabies. I was emphatically told us not to touch ANY animal no matter how cute and fluffy. There are dogs and cats […]


Tham An Mah

By: Amy Ellsworth

On Saturday, I was finally able to interview Joyce at Tham An Mah. She said the reason why they picked this site was because it would make a comfortable place to live. She described it almost like a real estate listing: roomy, well-sheltered, good living and cooking space… I imagined a hunter-gatherer couple discussing if […]


Day Seven

By: Amy Ellsworth

The next morning at breakfast, we were talking with Joyce and the team about the american phenomenon of summer camp. Michael recounted his experience at “Mount Misery” and Joyce asked how this experience at the excavation camp compared. He said he was having some difficulty, digestion-wise, and suddenly his face iced over and his hand […]


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