University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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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Fire, Water, and the Closing of the Frontier

By: Maureen Callahan

If you ever want to make a genealogist cry (no judgment here — that could be an entertaining time), just mention the 1890 United States census. It was a victim of destiny and bureaucrats, first damaged in a fire in 1921 and later destroyed by bone-headed paper pushers in 1933. The first census to use […]

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Weirdo gentlemen archaeologists and the archivists who love them

By: Maureen Callahan

There’s a qualitative difference, I’ve discovered, in researching the lives of antebellum and post-Civil War historical figures. When I read the papers of archaeologists of the late nineteenth century, I more or less understand their lives, the technologies that influence their work and the workings of their disciplines. Anything before 1860, however, leaves me lost. […]

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More snakes than Indiana Jones

By: Alessandro Pezzati

While preparing for an upcoming presentation, I am finally taking a close look at the museum’s amazing film collection.  Though digitized and made available online in 2007-2008 by the Internet Archive,  the 675 reels of 16mm film are simply too much material for casual browsing.  Spending time with the films, however, is worth it. Comprised […]

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Phun with Photochromes*

By: Maureen Callahan

Please indulge the ebullient tone in this post — the sun is shining and I just can’t contain myself. Every once in a while, we should take a moment to look at a truly beautiful image. There’s a lot to like about this image. The composition is effective, the subject compelling, colors vibrant and details […]

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Processing the Satterthwaite Caracol Collection

By: Alison Miner

Earlier this week I spent some time working on the collections of Linton Satterthwaite relating to the archaeological investigations in Caracol, Belize. The expeditions, in 1951 and 1953, were primarily focused on the salvage and documentation of stelae, the large carved monuments erected by the ancient Maya to commemorate rulers or historic events. They recovered […]

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Cradle Boards and Having an Opinion

By: Maureen Callahan

The Ferber method, free-range kids, Dr. Spock, attachment parenting — it seems that the world has always been full of people who think that they know how to raise your kids better than you do. In this vein, and in the context of early twentieth-century progressive party-crashers and a national campaign of widespread displacement and […]

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Geek-Out Book Blogging

By: Maureen Callahan

The Penn Museum Archives is the proud new owner of How to Identify Prints: A Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Processes from Woodcut to Inkjet by Bamber Gascoigne. What I love most about this book is that it offers the what they call “Sherlock Holmes” and what we call “Choose Your Own Adventure” approach […]

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The Ainu People and an Early Anthropological Friendship Across an Ocean

By: Alison Miner

Given this rhetoric, and the colonial relationship between the Japanese government and the Ainu peoples, it is not surprising that their culture was not well studied for many years. In 1900, however, a traveler from Philadelphia, Hiram Hiller, took a detour from his pan-Asian journeys to visit Hokkaido. He met Jenichiro Oyabe, a Japanese man who was educated as a missionary, but who became a self-trained ethnographer of the Ainu people.

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Ellen Kohler at Gordion

By: Maureen Callahan

The woman in this image, Ellen Kohler, was an Anatolian and classical archaeologist based at the Penn Museum for the majority of her career.  In this photo, she is demonstrating the use of a quern stone at the site of Gordion, in central Turkey. Gordion is located fifty miles southwest of Ankara and is one […]

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