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.


Family Statue [Object of the Day #122]

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By: admin

  Dating to the Middle Kingdom, this basalt statuette depicts a family group, with the mother (Sneferu) and father (Hetep-Sekhmet) on the left, and two son (Ankhu and Pepi) on the right. The left arm of each of the three males is placed across the chest, and each of the left hands grasps a bolt […]

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Wine Jar [Object of the Day #118]

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By: Josef Wegner

Most ancient Egyptian pottery tends to be very utilitarian: rough vessels used for day to day purposes, the pots and pans of the land of the pharaohs. Occasionally, however, Egyptian potters produced beautifully decorated wares. Techniques such as slipping and polishing, incised decoration, modeling, and painted decoration (as in this example) produced Egypt’s fine wares. […]

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Seated Statue of Ramesses II [Object of the Day #113]

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By: Jennifer Houser Wegner

Of all of the Egyptian pharaohs, perhaps none can be said to be as productive as Ramses II.  Ramses II was the pharaoh who would have one of the longest recorded reigns — sixty-seven years, would fight more battles, and would produce more statuary and construct more buildings than any other ruler of ancient Egypt.  […]

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Mummy Mask [Object of the Day #109]

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By: admin

This Egyptian funerary mask from the late Ptolemaic or Roman Period (after 300 BCE) has a gilded face to suggest that the deceased had joined the gods in the afterlife.  It meant that now, the owner had skin and bones of gold, just like the gods. On the headdress, alternating stripes of gold and blue […]

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Egyptian Jar [Object of the Day #108]

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By: Josef Wegner

Egypt’s Predynastic Period (ca. 5000-3000 BCE) was a formative time when many of the key features of the civilization of the pharaohs took shape. One of the characteristic types of pottery of the Predynastic of Upper (southern) Egypt is D-ware (short for Decorated-Ware) as we see in this example from the site of Ballas. During […]

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Royal Shawabti [Object of the Day #103]

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By: Josef Wegner

Shabtis are mummiform funerary figurines buried in tombs to assist the deceased in the afterlife. Early ones appeared first around 2000 BCE during Egypt’s Middle Kingdom and then became very popular in later periods. They occur in a wide range of quality: from crude mud versions to elaborate ones in fine materials for elite and […]

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Egyptian Wand [Object of the Day #97]

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By: Alyssa Kaminski

  This Egyptian wand was created sometime between 1300 and 1200 BC and was found at a Temple in Beth Shan. It is created from a hippopotamus tusk, an animal that was once native to region that is now Syria/Palestine. On the wand, is the face of Hathor, goddess of love, music, and joy. She […]

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Painted Jar [Object of the Day #93]

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By: Josef Wegner

Painted jar from Karanog. The site of Karanog was located in Lower (or Northern) Nubia, now entirely flooded beneath Lake Nasser. In 1907-1912 this region was the focus for the first excavations of the Eckley Coxe Jr. Expedition of the Penn Museum. Karanog was once a flourishing town, and the administrative capital of Lower Nubia, […]

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Egyptian Sleeve Band [Object of the Day #92]

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By: Alyssa Kaminski

  While this sleeve band is made from a linen material, it was created in imitation of Sassanian silk or Byzantine design. The iconography is that of a “Propitious Portrait” or “Wealthy Woman” that is surrounded by a floral border. The object is dated between 600-799 AD. Penn Museum Object #E634B See this and other […]

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Egyptian Kneeling Statue [Object of the Day #36]

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By: Alyssa Kaminski

This Egyptian kneeling statue was created around 1351 BCE. The statue is made of bronze gilded with gold. With his arms missing, this king sits kneeling, wearing a nemes headdress. His broad hips and elongated facial features indicate that he was made in the latter part of the Amarna Period. There are traces of the […]

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