Volume 38 / Issue 1


Issue Cover

On the cover: The current textile inventory of Mrs. Hoan, a weaver in northern Vietnam. Five rolls of white cloth lay at the bottom of her basket. She said this cloth was used for burial shrouds.
Photo by H. Leedom Lefferts, Jr.

Botanical and Faunal Remains from Tell es-Sweyhat

By: Naomi F. Miller and Jill Anne Weber

Botanical Remains Charred plant remains from ancient sites open a window onto many aspects of ancient Landscape and economy. In the Near East, for example, wood charcoal comes primarily from trees and shrubs burned as fuel. It reflects which woody plants were available for cutting and therefore aids in reconstructing the ancient envi¬≠ronment. Charred seeds […]

Geomagnetic Mapping at Tell es-Sweyhat

By: Peter Peregrine

The premise of the archaeological use of geomagnetic is that archaeological deposits can be recognized as disruptions of the otherwise uniform magnetic character of most soils. To recognize these disruptions one measures the earth’s magnetic field across a given area and creates a map of it. One can map the magnetic field of a given […]

Astragali, the Ubiquitous Gaming Pieces

Reviews and Reports

By: Jeremiah Dandoy

The astragalus, or talus, is a uniquely shaped, compact bone (Fig. 2) found in virtually every mammal including humans. It is part of the hind leg in four-footed mammals and part of the heel complex in two-legged mammals (Fig. 3). In the Bovid family, the six-sided rectangular shape of the astragalus makes it well suited […]

Musings and Visions from the Museum – Spring 1996

By: Stephen M. Epstein

Perhaps the most self-evident aspect of the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s mission is stewardship of the artifacts in our care. While this task has its gray areas and technical complexities, the charge is pretty straightforward. It is embedded in the meaning of the very word “museum.” Our mission also includes research. We pursue it aggressively, […]

The Ritual Importance of the Mundane:

White Cloth Among the Tai of Southeast Asia

By: H. Leedom Lefferts, Jr.

Often, when we consider that something has ritual importance, we imagine it as exotic, strange, and, possibly, wondrously beautiful. We tend not to view as ritualistic something that is everyday and quite ordinary. We also believe that ritual items cannot be easily displaced by other objects, much less discarded entirely. Something ritualistic is somehow essential […]

The Tell es-Sweyhat Regional Archaeological Project

By: Michael D. Danti

The Tell es-Sweyhat project’s research design extends beyond the site-specific level of analysis to cover broader issues, regional and interregional in scope. This component of the project is critical for investigating Sweyhat’s urban transformation and for approaching larger issues, such as the organization of northern Mesopotamian dry-farming/pastoral economies, secondary-state formation, and core/peripheral relations in the […]

Settlement Patterns and Community Organization in the Maya Lowlands

By: Jeremy A. Sabloff

Since the last century the principal emphasis of Maya studies has been on the ancient Maya elite. This fact is certainly not surprising given the visually spectacular nature of the art and architecture associated with the rulers of the lowland Maya realm. The elaborate tombs, the stelae depicting rulers in full regalia, the polychrome pottery, […]

Tell es-Sweyhat, 1989-1995

A City in Northern Mesopotamia in the 3rd Millennium B.C.

By: Richard L. Zettler

Tell es-Sweyhat is a large 3rd millennium site on the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Excavations undertaken in the mid-1970s (Holland 1976, 1977) suggested the site as a case study in urban growth and collapse and a nearly ideal “field laboratog” for studying early northern Mesopotamian cities. In 1989 the University of Pennsylvania Museum requested […]