University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: World


Eastern Turkey Feather Headdress

Examining headdress styles at the Penn Museum. In the center is a Haudenosaunee gustoweh, topped with curling partridge and hawk feathers.

By: Margaret Bruchac

This object analysis was conducted for the Spring 2016 course Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast. Students are studying Native American objects in the Penn Museum collections by combining close material analyses (elements, construction, design, condition, etc.) with other forms of evidence: textual, photographic, historical, and ethnographic. In many cases, the objects we’re studying have little to no provenance data. So, we are […]


Considering the Feather Headdress

Cabinet card showing a group of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) medicine show entertainers. Period inscription on the back of the card reads: “Caughnawaga [Mohawk] Indians with the Kickapoo Medicine Company. Season 1891. R.W. Telford, Manager.” Photos courtesy of Gerry Biron. Private collection.

By: Margaret Bruchac

During the Spring 2016 course Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast, students are studying Native American objects in the Penn Museum collections by combining close material analyses (elements, construction, design, condition, etc.) with other forms of evidence: textual, photographic, historical, and ethnographic. In many cases, the objects we’re studying have little to no provenance data. So, we are seeking out similar objects, reaching out […]


Of Daggers and Scabbards: Evidence from Organic Pseudomorphs and X-Radiography

The image on the left shows B17506 under raking light.  The drawing on the right shows the pattern of the scabbard in blue.

By: Tessa de Alarcon

As part of the Ur Digitization Project, I have been spending time looking at the metal tools from the site.  As Kyra Kaercher has already noted in her blog post, many of the copper alloys from Ur have organic pseudomorphs.  These are sort of like fossils, in that they are organics which have been preserved […]


Ancient Ur and Historic Iraq: Woolley’s 11th Season

Photo taken by Father Leon Legrain in Ur season 4 (1925-1926. At center is Hamoudi's son Yahia who was in charge of photography and here he carries the photo tripod. At left may be his brother Ibrahim, though evidence tends to indicate he bean work only in the following season 5.

By: Brad Hafford

Ur Digitization Project Blog, March 2016 Spotlight on Archival Documents Field Report dated December 31, 1932 Over the past few months I’ve been going over the reports that Leonard Woolley sent from the field 80-90 years ago. This analysis is helping to create pages at Ur-Online that track the yearly progress of excavation. We have collected the field reports […]


Adventure Calls: The Life of a Woman Adventurer

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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 […]


What’s in a Name?

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By: Kate Pourshariati

Chanthadeth Chanthalangsy has a complicated life history to go with his multi-syllabic name. Having a Lao father and a Cambodian mother, his name reflects a choice of necessity made by his parents before immigrating, as you will see in his short film below. Some footage from the Museum Archives’ Watson Kintner Collection of Cambodia and […]


Ur Project, January 2016: A Tour of Ur

Field photo 1884 (left, 1930) and modern equivalent (right, 2015) showing Straight Street from the southeast.

By: Brad Hafford

Ur, Then and Now Comparing photos from the field and from a recent visit Field photos no. 454 and 1884 with equivalents taken in 2015 I’ve been studying the ancient city of Ur for more than a decade, but due to the struggles the nation of Iraq has endured I’d never been able to visit […]


A Tale of Two Cities: The Ancient Maya Site of La Florida and the Modern Town of El Naranjo

The view from atop one of La Florida’s pyramids. Photo by Joanne Baron

By: Joanne Baron

As we approach the coldest months of the year, all I can think about is sunny Guatemala, where I spent the month of July this past summer. I direct the La Florida Archaeology Project, together with my colleague Liliana Padilla. La Florida is an ancient Maya site, once known as the center of the Namaan […]


Ur Digitization Project: November 2015

Parthian horse and rider figurine from Nippur.

By: Brad Hafford

Horse and Rider at Ur A look at U.20055 (Museum Object Number: 35-1-114) And other horse and rider figurines When did the people of Mesopotamia first start riding horses? It’s a straightforward question but it has a somewhat complicated answer. First of all, the true horse (Equus caballus) was a relatively late entry into Mesopotamia […]


Conservation of Kaipure’s Tomb Chapel

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By: Emily Brown

Hello from the Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery (or Lower Egypt as we often call it here at the Penn Museum)! We are Emily Brown and Madeleine Neiman, two project conservators working on the Vibration Mitigation Project at the Penn Museum. Currently, we are working in view of the public on an Old Kingdom tomb chapel (Figure […]


Magic in the Ancient World

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