University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Summer Vacation

By: Maureen Callahan

Ah, our lantern slide collection. A cornucopia of preservation problems and cataloging head-scratchers. Here’s a sunny image for a rainy day here in Philadelphia: Sometimes working in the archives is like being a contestant on “What in the World?” We’re not experts in any one area, and it’s difficult to figure out what’s happening in […]

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Ta-DA!

By: Maureen Callahan

Guess what! The Penn Museum website has re-launched! Be sure to visit the new archives pages for information about visiting, our collections and our work.

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How to protect your home and family, the Sassanian way.

By: Alison Miner

Ok, I’ll be honest. At first I just chose this image of an Aramaic incantation bowl as the fun friday image of the week because: “look! cute child-like monster drawings!”. But the more I learn about this esoteric corner of the archaeological world, the more relevant these little bowls become. For several hundred years between […]

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Turtle Heist

By: Maureen Callahan

We’ve all been told that anthropologists have no right to intervene in the lives of their subjects — does it make a difference if their subjects are small, green, and promise not to tattle? Frank Goldsmith Speck, near the end of his career at Penn, befriended John Witthoft, a young colleague of his. The two […]

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The Tactile Experience

By: Alessandro Pezzati

I previously wrote about the Penn Museum’s close calls with visitors outraged because forbidden to paw at the granite sphinx.  But when is it okay for a visitor to handle the artifacts?  Exceptions are made, not only when you are famous, but sometimes because you are blind, and more rarely, when you are famous and […]

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If this doesn’t help you get through Wednesday, there’s not much more that I can do.

By: Maureen Callahan

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Do the museum guards really mistreat visitors?

By: Alessandro Pezzati

It is an eternal conundrum of museums to balance the contradictory values of preservation and access.  On the one hand, museums must protect these countless pieces of the world forever, but on the other, they’re not allowed to do it the best way, which is to put everything underground in a salt mine beneath a […]

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Desert Falconer

By: Maureen Callahan

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Pointless but Adorable Animal Photo

By: Maureen Callahan

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Marvelous Monday Archaeologist of the Week – Tatiana Proskouriakoff

By: Maureen Callahan

I don’t know much about Maya hieroglyphs, but I do know that Tatiana Proskouriakoff was, by every measure, a badass. Proskouriakoff was born in Tomsk, Siberia, the daughter of aristocrats. The family traveled to the United States in late 1915, when her father was sent to supervise the manufacture and sale of weapons to Russia. […]

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