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Ten Years as Editor

From the Editor

By: Jane Hickman

I began as Editor of Expedition in 2009, just after I finished graduate school at Penn. Issue 51.2 that year was a special magazine focused on the site of Gordion in Turkey, a Museum excavation that began in 1950 and continues to this day. Since then, I have been responsible for over 30 issues of […]


Welcome to the New Penn Museum

From the Director

By: Julian Siggers

Dear Friends, In 1926, the Coxe (Egyptian) Wing opened, and visitors thronged the lower gallery to see the great Sphinx of Ramses II in his new home. We long thought that the Sphinx would stay in that gallery permanently—however, as archaeologists and anthropologists so often demonstrate, assumptions can be questioned, and new developments in technology […]


The Penn Museum Has a New Look

At the Museum

OPEN TO ALL OUR MUSEUM has been known by a few names throughout its history—the Free Museum of Science and Art, the University Museum, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. What has remained constant is the Museum’s commitment to leading trailblazing discovery and unlocking the wonder of the human story. The Penn […]


Divinity and Power in the Ancient Americas

The Reimagine Mexico and Central America Gallery

By: Simon Martin

November 2019 marks the opening of the transformed Mexico and Central America Gallery. The new space displays some of the finest artifacts of their kind in the U.S., including some never previously displayed. The Gallery continues to emphasize our fine collection of Maya objects— including the largest and most important group of stelae outside the […]


A Continuous Thread

Subversion and Solidarity in Maya Cloth

By: Lucy Fowler Williams

FOR 1,500 YEARS, MAYA WOMEN HAVE WOVEN cotton garments with designs that depict the Maya cosmos and supernatural beings that sustain their world. A continuous thread through the centuries, highland Maya women of Guatemala have never stopped weaving as their communities have adapted to the massive demands of Spanish colonization, natural disasters, and the devastating […]


Making the Africa Galleries

A Conversation with Tukufu Zuberi

By: Jane Hickman and Alyssa Connell Haslam

TUKUFU ZUBERI, PH.D., is the Curator of the Africa Galleries. He is the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Zuberi sat down with Expedition’s Editor Jane Hickman and Associate Publisher Alyssa Connell Haslam to discuss the making of the new Africa Galleries. […]


A Selection of Objects from Our Africa Galleries

By: Jane Hickman and Lauren Cooper and Dwaune Latimer and Alioune Diack and Jessica Bicknell

THE AFRICA COLLECTION at the Penn Museum includes objects that were purchased by or gifted to the Museum or collected on ethnographic expeditions, primarily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As was common practice at the time, most pieces were acquired by wealthy travelers or European art and antiquities dealers and later sold […]


The Asante Gold Weights

Practical, Unique, Artistic Tools of the Trade

By: Christina Griffith

Within the glass cases in the Africa Galleries, they appear as miniaturized trophies, toys, or jewelry, but these beautifully crafted sculptures and icons of myth and reality were vital tools in the bustling trade hub of Africa’s Gold Coast. BETWEEN THE 9TH AND 16TH CENTURIES, desert-traversing trade routes connecting Egypt, Ethiopia, Arabia, and Europe to […]


The Lost Wax Casting Technique

A Step-By-Step Guide

By: Christina Griffith

THE PROCESS FOR CASTING GOLD objects like ornaments and jewelry is the same as that for casting Asante brass weights. Goldsmiths who were skilled in the art of working with the precious metal were also responsible for casting the necessary boxes, scales, weights, and scoops used in storing and weighing gold dust. In the early […]


In the Labs

Celebrating Five Years of CAAM

By: Marie-Claude Boileau and Moritz Jansen and Janet Monge and Katherine Moore and Chantel White

AS A JOINT ENDEAVOR between the Penn Museum and the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) has brought together expertise in the archaeological sciences, facilities, Museum collections, and student research since 2014. At the heart of the Center is our commitment to teaching and […]