University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Welcome to the Penn Museum blog. First launched in January 2009, the Museum blog now has over 800 posts covering a range of topics in the categories of Museum, Collection, Exhibitions, Research, and By Location. Here you’ll hear directly from our staff and Penn students about their work, research, experiences, and discoveries. To explore the Museum's other digital content, visit The Digital Penn Museum.


Digging up gold

32-27-1203. Gold earrings from Lapithos.

By: Sara Levin

When Penn archaeologists opened Tomb 6A in Lapithos, Cyprus in 1931, they discovered gold ornaments almost immediately. According to Virginia Grace, who wrote about the tomb and its contents in the American Journal of Archaeology nine years later (vol. 44 no.1), the gold objects first drew the excavators’ attention because “one of them caught the […]

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Jugs that rattle and roll

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By: Sara Levin

Continuing my condition survey of artifacts from Lapithos, Cyprus, I came across what seemed like a dull-looking Iron Age jug recently. But when I picked it up my ears perked—there were small objects rattling around inside. It may not be as pretty, but I realized that this jug is similar in shape and size to the rattling flask from Kourion […]

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Mysteries of Kourion Revisited: a Mystery Solved!

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By: Tessa de Alarcon

Awhile back I wrote a post, Mysteries of Kourion, about an unusual object from Kaloriziki Kourion (an archaeological site on Cyprus), which rattles when moved.  Last week I got to revisit the question of what exactly is making that noise, as this object along with a number of objects from the Egyptian section were taken […]

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An ancient eye for design: Bronze Age ceramics from Lapithos, Cyprus

Detail of the incised face and surrounding decoration.

By: Sara Levin

Prehistoric potters from Cyprus had a keen eye for design. Concentric circles, diamonds, and zig-zag patterns make some of the tiniest vessels come alive. I am Sara Levin, Kress Fellow in conservation, performing a condition survey of artifacts from Lapithos Vrysi tou Barba. This site in the north of the country is home to Bronze and Iron […]

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Mysteries of Kourion

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By: Tessa de Alarcon

I am working on a year long project conducting a condition survey of the objects at the Penn Museum from Kourion, Cyprus, that were excavated under the direction of George McFadden. This may not sound all that glamorous, but it has some definite perks.  In particular it means that I get to examine and photograph […]

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Cypriot Barrel Jug [Object of the Day #114]

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By: Ann Brownlee

  This barrel-shaped vessel dates to the Cypro-Archaic I period, between ca. 750-600 BCE, and is from the island of Cyprus.  A fine example of the pottery style known as Bichrome IV, this unusual shape is decorated with a bold stylized bird flanked by rosette and lotus motifs painted in the black and brownish-red colors […]

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Magic in the Ancient World

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