The Museum Bulletin

Originally published from 1930–1958, the Museum Bulletin includes articles which may not reflect the current views and values of the Penn Museum.

The editor has now determined ... to issue The University Museum Bulletin, published monthly from November to May, which will include short accounts of the current excavations, descriptions of recent acquisitions to the collections, and the activities of the Museum that are of general interest.

Annoucement — Museum Journal Volume XX - Number 3-4 (1929)


Agnes Lake washing a marble head at the Minturnae excavations.

Minturnae Expedition

In 1931, the Penn Museum was able to secure permission from the Italian government to excavate the ancient Roman and pre-Roman city of Minturnae, 50 miles from Naples. Situated along the Appian Way, the site featured a well-preserved aqueduct, several temples, a theater, and baths, as well as important collections of marble sculpture.

View of a stepped pyramid with a stairway in the middle being excavated.

Piedras Negras Expedition

The ancient city of Piedras Negras, deep in the jungle of the Petén district of Guatemala, was the Museum’s first large-scale excavation of a Maya ruin. It is known for its elaborately carved and well-preserved monuments, many of which were on display in the Penn Museum for years. The work, directed by J. Alden Mason and Linton Satterthwaite, lasted from 1931 to 1939.

A crumbled stairway and paved area.

Cyprus Expedition

The ancient city kingdom of Kourion, on the south coast of Cyprus, has been the focus of archaeological investigation for nearly 150 years. Its location and natural resources attracted the earliest settlers to the island, and its prominence has continued into modern times. Kourion, where several sites belonging to different periods, from Neolithic to Roman times, formed one extensive settlement. B. H. Hill excavated the Bronze and Iron Age cemetery at Lapithos in 1931, beginning a focus on the Classical sites of Cyprus that continued for 20 years at the Penn Museum.

View of the excavated round House, people standing about.

Tell Billa & Tepe Gawra Expeditions

Tepe Gawra is located about 18 miles northeast of Mosul in the piedmont zone adjoining the Assyrian Plains in northeastern Iraq. It lies between the Tigris River and the first foothills of the Zagros Mountains, by the entrance to one of the few historically documented passes onto the Iranian plateau through the Jebel Maqlub. Gawra was certainly a transport link in trade for lapis lazuli and for other exotic goods from the Zagros highlands and from the Upper Tigris basin into Mesopotamia proper.


Chinese collections catalogue cover.

The Chinese Collections

The Chinese Collections owe their growth to gifts and purchases rather than to excavations or expeditions. In 1915-16, however, a reconnaissance expedition undertaken by Carl W. Bishop discovered several important early Buddhist sites and thoroughly explored others previously reported. Thus a collection of outstanding quality that has grown to have an international reputation was brought together.

American collections catalogue cover.

The American Collections

The American Halls contain one of the world’s best collections of objects produced by the ancient Maya civilization in Guatemala and adjacent regions, and by some of the other advanced cultures of Middle America. Especially noteworthy are the collection of Maya ceramics, the great Maya stone sculptures from Piedras Negras in Guatemala, the gold and pottery collections from Coclé and Chiriquí in Panama.

Warp and Woof catalogue cover depicting a repeated pattern of a figure found on fabric in the collection.

Warp and Woof

Warp and Woof was a 1949 exhibit of historic and contemporary textiles, with a double aim: to spread before the visitor the almost miraculous products of the primitive loom, and to suggest how infinite are the decorative possibilities to be discovered in ancient and primitive design. Side by side with the rich fabrics of the past were placed newly-created textiles based on objects in the Museum.

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