University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Underwater Panthers and Their Place in the Native American Cosmos

Wednesday 01 March 2017
6:00PM - 8:00PM
Penn Museum

Great Beasts of Legend

Annual Petersen Lecture: Dr. Megan Kassabaum, Weingarten Assistant Curator, American Section, Penn Museum

Archaeologists generally agree that certain beliefs about the cosmos are broadly shared among indigenous peoples of the Americas. Though the details vary wildly, the world is generally seen as consisting of three layers—the Above World, the Middle World, and the Beneath World. While we live our every day lives in the Middle World, the Above and Beneath Worlds are inhabited by a variety of supernatural beings. One of the most intriguing characters to inhabit the Beneath World is the underwater panther, a composite creature with both feline and serpentine characteristics that is associated with the dangerous yet beneficial powers of rivers, waterfalls, whirlpools and caves.

For visitors who are blind or visually impaired, live audio description of the lecture slides is available. To reserve a headset, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Admission: $5 single lecture advance ticket ($2 Penn Museum members); $10 at the door.

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