University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Dancing Man at the Seneferu Pyramid in 1929

November 23, 2010

This man is one of many workers at the excavation of the Seneferu Pyramid in 1929. Maybe it was the presence of the motion picture camera that inspired him to start dancing. Notice the reaction of his fellow workers. For some, the inspiration to start singing and dancing seems pretty commonplace, but others start to smile and clap along.

The excavation team must have been a spirited group because this archival footage also includes dancing Arabian horses and a farewell party for the staff given by the workers. The full video can be seen at

The Seneferu pyramid is located four miles west of the southernmost pyramid in a long line of royal tombs extending down the Nile and 50 miles south of Cairo. It was built in 2900 BCE according to the film; however, recent research points to 2700 BCE as a more accurate date.

Eckley B. Coxe, Jr. Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 1929-1930. All rights are reserved by the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum). Any use of the footage in productions is forbidden unless rights have been secured by contacting the Penn Museum Archives at 215-898-8304, or email

This film and all of the films in the Penn Museum collection are copyrighted by the Penn Museum, and are not in the public domain.

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