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.


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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Did you say something?

By: Maureen Callahan

Surely these two guys and a gal have something to say.  Create dialogue for them in the comments section — the most clever (by our standards) will win a prize from the archives. Be sure to leave an email address so that we can let you claim your winnings.

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Thanks to cellulose and tourists.

By: Alison Miner

It’s great when you find something that is beautiful and also conveys a great amount of information.
This is not one of those circumstances.
Pure 19th-century eye candy.

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Stela! Steeeeeeeela! (Can’t you hear me yella?)

By: Maureen Callahan

You’re puttin’ me through Hella! Well, okay, Maya stelae are possibly less immediately dramatic than either Tennessee Williams or the Simpsons. And sure, it’s a different word with a different pronunciation. But the stone monuments in our Meso-American gallery might be my favorite part of walking into the archives in the morning. There’s something about […]

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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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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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Desert Falconer

By: Maureen Callahan

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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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Magic in the Ancient World

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