The Boys of Sumer
March 1 through August 31, 2016

The early history of the Penn Museum’s archaeological investigations in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) is explored in this archival exhibition curated by Penn Museum Fellow Kamillia Scott. By means of letters, photographs, diaries, and drawings, visitors encounter the pioneering expeditions to Nippur (1889-1900) and Ur (1922-1934), which resulted in some of the most spectacular finds ever made by the Penn Museum, including the Temple Library at Nippur and the Royal Tombs of Ur. The Boys of Sumer features the stories of many individuals involved in the excavations (including Herman Hilprecht, John Henry Haynes, Osman Hamdi Bey, M. Louise Baker, Leonard Woolley, and even Agatha Christie), as well as rare early photographs of the Marsh Arabs of Iraq.


In The Boys of Sumer: Discovery in Mesopotamia you will discover:

A collection of drawings, letters, and photographs from the pioneering expeditions to Nippur and Ur.

John Henry Haynes journal

Journals of John Henry Haynes chronicling his journey through Mesopotamia on the Wolfe Expedition.

M. Louise Baker’s watercolor reproduction of the bull-headed lyre, found during the excavation of Ur.

The novel inspired by Agatha Christie’s visit to the excavations at Ur.

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