University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Kenya Overview

By: Amy Ellsworth

The Laikipia Plateau of Kenya, East Africa, was home to some of our earliest ancestors. Overlooking the Great Rift Valley, often referred to as the “cradle of mankind,” it has evidence of hominid occupation from the Early Stone Age to the present. The focus of the present study is on the period of transition from […]

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Maasai Mama

By: Amy Ellsworth

Kathleen was telling me about some of the people we will be meeting including Paul Kunoni, our Maasai translator and other archaeologists from the National Museum of Kenya, when she referred to a Maasai woman as her “co-wife.” Risking bad manners for the sake of curiosity, I asked her what she meant by co-wife… She […]

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Gearing Up

By: Amy Ellsworth

Kathleen Ryan, Associate Curator of the African Section at the Penn Museum, approached me months ago about going to Kenya with her team to video tape her research on the Laikipia Plateau. “Sure!” I said, thinking I would never get approval from above. It seemed like too much of a fantasy opportunity to ever materialize […]

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Good questions!

By: Maureen Callahan

I recently received a very thoughtful email from a reader (a graduate student in a museum studies program) who had some questions about what we do here at the archives — I thought that I would post his thoughts and my replies for our readers’ edification. His email: Hello. I am a graduate student taking […]

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Automation in action

By: Scott Williams

Maureen: Digitization is iterative. There was a time that every institution with a desktop scanner and a work-study student was scanning every item they could lay their hands on like kids in candy stores, and throwing them up onto the web without thinking much about the user experience. Now that we’re at a point of […]

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SnowMG!

By: Maureen Callahan

Philadelphia is expecting many of inches of snow, and the weather should start any minute now. It’s safe to say that the city has descended into a full-throated freak-out. So, let’s put it in perspective with some snow photos from the archives! So remember, if you’re going to go out, bring your parka made from […]

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Getting our collections on the web – step one.

By: Maureen Callahan

Non-nerds may want to amuse themselves elsewhere… So, we at the museum are moving to a new collections management system. A year away from data migration, the archives and the collections staff are teaming up to figure out the best way to make sense of our images, clean them up, take care of them, and […]

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Tuk Tuks, Bombies, and Front-loading Washers

By: Amy Ellsworth

After about 60 hours of travel, we made it back to Pennsylvania with all our limbs and luggage in tact. We took a tuk tuk to the Luang Prabang airport thinking we needed 3 hours for international travel even though there are only about 5 departing flights per day. Some of the tuk tuks had […]

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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 […]

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Tomorrow’s history… today’s elephants

By: Maureen Callahan

In the archives, we tend to have about a thirty-year lag between something happening at the museum and a researcher wanting to look at those records. However, it’s worth reminding our public that the Penn Museum is actively involved in dozens of research projects, and that the scientists and others involved in this process are […]

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Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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