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Volume 57 / Issue 2


Issue Cover

Mounds of Native North America

On the Cover: Detail from painting of the Feltus mounds in Mississippi. By John J. Egan, American (born Ireland), active mid-19th century; “Ferguson Group: The Landing of Gen. Jackson,” scene 18 from the Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley, ca. 1850; distemper on cotton muslin; Saint Louis Art Museum, Eliza McMillan Trust 34:1953

The Transformation Continues

From the Director - Fall 2015

By: Julian Siggers

This time last year, I wrote you about our ambitious plans to transform the Penn Museum into an institution worthy of our world-class collection. We are delighted with the launch of the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials and the great success of the inaugural year of the Unpacking the Past school visits program. Over the next ve years, we will […]

Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley

The Mounds of Native North America

By: Megan C. Kassabaum

Earthen mounds have been constructed in the eastern United States for well over 5,000 years. From early beginnings in the Lower Mississippi Valley through the ongoing mound building ceremonies of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, mounds have always played important roles in the ritual, social, and political lives of Native American groups. They vary […]

A Season in Hell (with Apologies to Arthur Rimbaud)

The Annihilation of the Damned in Ancient Egypt

By: Joshua Aaron Roberson

“I will tear the veils from every mystery: mysteries of religion or of nature, death, birth, the future, the past, cosmogony, and nothingness.” – Arthur Rimbaud, Une Saison en Enfer, I, III (1873). Few mysteries fascinate humankind so deeply as that veil to which Rimbaud alludes: the gossamer barrier that separates “here” from “hereafter.” All […]

Webs of Power

Identifying Royal and Private Power in Old Kingdom Egypt

By: Leslie Anne Warden

The Old Kingdom (ca. 2600–2200 BCE) was the first major florescence of the Egyptian state. This period is often de ned in both scholarship and the popular imagination as a time when powerful, pyramid-building pharaohs controlled Egypt and dictated social, religious, and economic a airs. The role of the general population in forming and supporting […]

Mrs. Scaife & The Jade Mask

A Memoir of Tikal

By: Stuart D. Scott

On the warm spring morning of March 5, 1959, as the sun first appeared over the tiered rainforest canopy of mahogany, ceiba, and sapodilla trees, a significant day was dawning at Tikal. The day started uneventfully except for the planned departure of some important visitors. Publicity about the Penn Museum’s Tikal Project, through its contract […]

Engaging Students in Original Scientific Research

In the Labs

By: Marie-Claude Boileau

Last spring, the Ceramics Laboratory in the new Center for the analysis of archaeological Materials (CAAM), was a hotspot for student research. Eight Penn graduate students elected to take “Petrography of Cultural Materials,” an intense course in which students not only receive practical training in ceramic petrography but also get the unique chance to conduct […]

Food and Fire in the New Labs

In the Labs

By: Katherine M. Moore

Classes were already in full swing when CAAM was dedicated last September. Fourteen students were enrolled in the freshman seminar “food and fire: archaeology in the Laboratory,” the first course of its type offered by the Penn Museum and the College of arts and sciences. “Food and Fire” followed the history of human technology from […]

Meet Our Members

Arthur J. Burke, Esq. C89, W89

Art Burke, a member of the Loren Eiseley Society, recently shared with us some of his reasons for being involved with the Museum, even as an out-of-towner. How and why did you first get involved with the Penn Museum? I have enjoyed the Museum since I was a student at Penn— or actually even before […]

The First Century of the Harrison Rotunda

From the Archives

By: Alessandro Pezzati

The Harrison Rotunda, consisting of the Hall and the Auditorium, turns 100 this year. The iconic dome of the Penn Museum is an architectural wonder of monumental yet exquisite proportions. Ancient Roman construction methods reinterpreted by the Guastavino engineering firm were employed to achieve the all-masonry Rotunda, with upper and lower chambers, each surmounted by […]

Museum News

New Acquisitions David W. and Barbara G. Fraser have recently donated their personal collection of 27 Indonesian textiles to the Oceanian Section of the Museum. Gathered over the last 40 years, these well-documented textiles include examples from the islands of Sumba, Timor, and Flores, previously unrepresented in the Museum’s collections. The Frasers, experts on the […]