University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Volume 19 / Issue 3 (1977)


Issue Cover

On the cover: Wall painting fragments from Malyan.


The Strange Practice of Firewalking

By: Paul G. Brewster

Of all phenomena, the ability of certain individuals to walk barefoot through fire without being burned is perhaps the most spectacular and unquestionably the most puzzling. Where and how the practice originated can only be a matter of conjecture. According to some firewalkers, it had its beginning in Central Asia, the ancient birthplace of man­kind. […]


The Earliest Uses of Clay in Syria

By: Denise Schmandt-Besserat

Clay is a soft and rich earthy substance consisting primarily of hydrated silicates of aluminum. It is a product of the decomposi­tion of feldspathic rocks by erosion. The very fine particles are usually transported by water and deposited in beds with various mineral and organic impurities. Clay is plastic when wet because its small crystals […]


Cherokee Indian Craftswomen and the Economy of Basketry

By: Bonita Freeman-Witthof

Cherokee, North Carolina did an eighteen million dollar tourist business in 1972. Much of this money went to outsiders who held leases on motels, restaurants, and tourist shops on the Qualla Boundary, land of the Corporation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. Many of the tourists who came there to look at Indians saw little […]


The Incidence of Lead in Late Shang and Early Chou Ritual Vessels

By: Katheryn M. Linduff

No evidence confirming the general use of bronze in Ancient China, now attested by archaeological remains, can so far be dated earlier than ca 1300 B.C. The most firmly dated context in which bronze was in general use was at Cheng-chou, Honan. The knowl­edge of sophisticated metalworking tech­niques and the ability to use them to […]


Malyan Wall Paintings

By: Janet W. Dickerson

In 1971 and 1974 several fragmentary remains of ancient wall paintings were found during the course of excavations at Tall-i Malyan, Iran, dating to the Banesh period around 3200 B.C. (MASCA corrected date). Because building wails in mound sites are not generally preserved to any great height, intact examples of this decorative wall art are […]