University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology

The Penn Museum and the Kingdom of Midas

From the Editor

By: Jane Hickman

This special expanded issue of Expedition was created to accompany The Golden Age of King Midas. This extraordinary exhibition—with objects from four museums in Turkey, the Delphi Museum in Greece, the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago, and our own Penn Museum collection—opens on Saturday, February 13, 2016. Many individuals contributed to this issue, including the […]


A Tradition of Discovery through Fieldwork

From the Director

By: Julian Siggers

In 1887, a group of Philadelphians, including University of Pennsylvania Provost William Pepper, established the Penn Museum to house artifacts recovered from excavations at Nippur. One hundred and twenty-eight years later, sending excavation teams around the world remains a priority at the Museum, as evidenced by the wide range of field research programs that we […]


Stewarding Collections in Times of Change

In the Galleries

The current academic year has seen the launch of an exciting period of renovations and updates for the Penn Museum and its neighbor, the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS). UPHS began the demolition of Penn Tower, located directly to the south of the Museum, in preparation for construction of a new Patient Pavilion designed […]


In the Labs

International Archaeology Day On October 17, 2015, CAAM helped the Museum celebrate International Archaeology Day by offering the public tours of its facilities, which showcased what goes on in the labs. Visitors had a chance to learn how anthropologists analyze animal bones, forensic anthropologists use the anatomy and microstructure of human bone as clues in […]


Gordion and the Penn Museum

By: C. Brian Rose

Like many great archaeological discoveries, the site of Gordion was encountered by accident. Engineers working on the construction of the Berlin-Baghdad railroad noticed a large, flat-topped mound with extensive amounts of pottery on the surface and assumed that it was an ancient settlement. Parts of the site and the surrounding monumental burial mounds, or tumuli, […]


The Interaction of Empires

By: Anastasia Amrhein and Sophie Crawford Waters and Sam Holzman and Kurtis Tanaka

Much of the richness of Gordion’s history lies in its interaction with the other great kingdoms of the Near East during the Iron Age and Archaic periods (ca. 950–540 BCE). Each of them observed Gordion and the Phrygians through divergent lenses, and the character of the site shifted considerably as the power of these neighboring […]


Tumulus MM

Fit for a King

By: Richard Liebhart and Lucas Stephens

For several thousand years, anyone entering the valley of the ancient Sangarius (modern Sakarya) River near the site of Gordion would have noticed the huge mound of earth now called Tumulus MM. Still standing at 53 m (almost 175 feet) tall and on the top of a ridge, it is visible from long distances on […]


The Legacy of Phrygian Culture

By: Kathryn R. Morgan and C. Brian Rose and Sam Holzman and Patricia Kim

The impact of Midas’ reign on the political configuration of Asia Minor is well known; less obvious is the impact of Phrygian culture on subsequent developments in textile production, music, problem-solving slogans, and even the representations of liberty. What is the relationship between flamenco and the Phrygian mode in music, and why were Phrygian caps […]


Architectural Conservation at Gordion

By: Elisa Del Bono

Following the preservation policy of many Mediterranean countries, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey requires the directors of archaeological projects to focus not only on excavation but also on archaeological conservation and site improvement for visitors. From 2006 to 2014, this work at Gordion was conducted under the auspices of the Architectural Conservation […]


The Myth of Midas’ Golden Touch

By: Anastasia Amrhein and Patricia Kim and Lucas Stephens and Jane Hickman

Gold has been used to create objects of beauty across the ages, conferring a high level of status on those who own it. In some cultures, gold has spiritual and even magical qualities. As a raw material or manufactured object, gold also plays an important role in understanding ancient trade. Gold luxury objects and coins […]