University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: Deborah I. Olszewski

Middle Egypt in Prehistory

A Search for the Origins of Modern Human Behavior and Human Dispersal

By: Deborah I. Olszewski and Shannon P. McPherron and Harold L. Dibble and Marie Soressi

The word Egypt for many people evokes im­ages of one of the great civilizations of the ancient world and represents one of the major foci of research by the University of Pennsylva­nia Museum. Tens of thousands of years before Egyptian civilization, however, early humans living along the Nile River and in the deserts of Egypt […]


An Ice Age Oasis in Jordan

Pleistocene Hunter-gatherers in the Wadi al-Hasa Region

By: Deborah I. Olszewski and Nancy R. Coinman

If you visited the Wadi al-Hasa region of west cen­tral Jordan today, you would probably find it hard to picture it as an attractive place to make a home. But during the last Ice Age (the Pleistocene epoch), it looked very different. Some 20,000 years ago and ear­lier, an expansive lake filled the eastern section […]


Donald White

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

Some of you know a thing or two about our featured museum curator, Donald White, because of his role in the exhibition, “Worlds Intertwined: Etruscans, Greeks and Romans.” This ambitious project occupied much of his time since 1990, intensifying from 1999 leading up to the opening of the new Etruscan and Roman galleries at the […]


Richard Zettler: Associate Curator-In-Charge, Near East Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

Ancient Mesopotamia is Richard Zettler’s research passions. As Associate Curator-in-Charge of the Near East Section, and Associate Professor of Anthropologic, his expertise has made him the person to contact about the Near East, especially in light of recent events in Iraq. Some of you will have read his editorial, “Thieves of History,” in the Philadelphia Inquirer, […]


Meet the New Director

Richard M. Leventhal, the Williams Director

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

On JULY 1, 2004, a new era at the Penn Museum began when Richard M. Leventhal, noted Mesoamerican scholar, officinally assumed the Charles K. Williams Directorship. Leventhal begins his tenure with a footnote that may well be unique in the world of museum directors. One of his mentors during his student days was Jeremy A. Sabloff, […]


Prehistoric Abydos

Africa's Gateway to the World

By: Harold L. Dibble and Shannon P. McPherron and Deborah I. Olszewski and Jennifer R. Smith and Utsav Schurmans and Laurent Chiotti

Most Expedition readers will be familiar with the Museum’s longstanding Egyptian research project at Abydos, which focuses on Abydos’s ancient yet historically known past, and was most recently presented in a special issue of Expedition in 2006 (vol. 48-2). In contrast, the following research focuses on Abydos’s far more distant and prehistoric past. The origin […]


Nancy S. Steinhardt, Curator of Chinese Art, Asian Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

Penn museum’s curator of Chinese Art in the Asian Section, Nancy S. Steinhardt, began studying Chinese while attending the Mark Twain Summer Institute in St. Louis when she was 13 years old. This experience opened up new and exciting vistas centered on East Asia, and Steinhardt continued learning Chinese throughout her high school years by […]


Clark L. Erickson

In 2007, Erickson surveyed cultural landscapes by canoe in the Bolivian Amazon.
Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

Growing up surrounded by his mother’s books and framed travel photos of archaeological sites and places such as Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Clark L. Erickson, Associate Curator in the Museum’s American Section, developed an early interest in the study of the past. Since then, Erickson has dedicated his career to “peopling the past” by understanding the […]


Robert W. Preucel, Associate Curator, American Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

One of the many hats Robert W. Preucel wears as the Gregory Annenberg Weingarten Associate Curator of North America is Chair of the Museum’s Repatriation Committee. This committee is charged with implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAG-PRA) passed by Congress in 1990. You may be familiar with this aspect of Preucel’s work […]


Meet the New Director

Richard Hodges, The Williams Director

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

On October 1, 2007, Penn Museum welcomed its new Williams Director, Dr. Richard Hodges, O.B.E. His archaeological career began in the late 1960s in his home village in Wiltshire, England, where, as a teenager, he attended a lecture by Duncan Grant King—one of the excavators during the 1920s of the famous British prehistoric site of […]


C. Brian Rose: Curator-in-Charge, Mediterranean Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

The spark that led to a career in the archaeology of the Mediterranean world for C. Brian Rose, Curator-in-Charge of the Museum’s Mediterranean Section, was his participation on excavations in Italy in 1973 as a high school exchange student in the American Field Service program. The following year he became an undergraduate at Haverford College, where […]


Barry L. Eichler: Associate Curator-in-Charge, Babylonian Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

A fascination with the human condition and the problems that society attempts to solve is the driving force behind the research and teaching of Barry L. Eichler, Associate Curator-in-Charge of the Babylonian Section at Penn Museum. His close readings of ancient texts on Middle Eastern clay tablets provide insights into issues of societal control, law, and […]


Gregory L. Possehl, Curator, Asian Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

The Summer of 2004 marked 40 years of archaeo­logical research in India and Pakistan for Gregory L. Possehl, Curator in the Asian Section and Professor of Anthropology. His career began at the University of Washington, where as an under­graduate he excavated shell middens and worked as a survey archaeologist for the state’s highways department. What […]


Meet the New Board Chair

Michael J. Kowalski: Chairman of the Museum's Board of Overseers

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

Penn museum welcomed Michael J. Kowalski as Chairman of the Museum Board of Overseers on July 1, 2006. Kowalski graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and has a long- standing interest in modern and ancient cultures. As an undergraduate studying economics at Wharton, his diverse interests included Russian history and literature. His fascination […]


Meet the Curators – Josef Wegner

Associate Curator, Egyptian Section

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

The Museum’s Josef Wegner, Associate Curator in the Egyptian Section, has been interested in Egyptology since childhood. Growing up in New Hampshire, he was long aware of the significant Egyptian collections housed at the Museum and the opportunities for academic training in Egyptology. Wegner thus came to Penn in 1985 as an undergraduate and completed […]


Harold L. Dibble, Curator, European Archaeology Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

HAROLD L. DIBBLE, Curator-in-Charge of the European Archaeology Section at the Museum, has been fascinated with stone tools and archaeology since he was a small child. He fondly remembers poring over C. W. Ceram’s The March of Archaeology (Knopf, 1958). Some might think his career path as a Paleolithic archaeologist was long since chosen when […]


Robert L. Schuyler: Associate Curator-in-Charge, Historical Archaeology Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

Robert L. Schuyler, Associate Curator-in-Charge of the Museum’s Historical Archaeology Section, remembers a fascination with the past as a 4-year-old living in New Haven, Connecticut. His interest then was paleontology (the study of prehistoric creatures such as dinosaurs), but by the fifth grade, Schuyler’s visits to Yale University’s Peabody Museum and his reading of National Geographic […]


Rebecca Huss-Ashmore, Associate Curator-in-Charge, Physical Anthropology Section

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

Rebecca Huss-Ashmore, Associate Curator-in­Charge of Penn Mus­eum’s Physical Anthropology Section, has traveled nearly full circle in her career. As an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, she majored in German, with a minor in American Literature, but also took anthropol­ogy classes. These included a course taught by Oscar Lewis, who one day unexpectedly asked her […]


When Stone Is More Than Stone

Clues to Prehistoric Resource Use in Jordan

By: Deborah I. Olszewski and Maysoon al-Nahar

Scattered Across the world on the surface and in buried deposits are billions of prehistoric stone arti­facts the most durable evidence of humanity’s past 2.6 million years. Public interest and research on such artifacts often focuses on the forms of arrowheads, handaxes, drills, and other recognizable tools and on how they were made by prehistoric […]


Lauren Ristvet

Meet the Curators

By: Deborah I. Olszewski

Lauren Ristvet, the Robert H. Dyson, Jr. Assistant Curator in the Museum’s Near East Section, became interested in archaeology while growing up in New Mexico. She and her brother, Matthew, explored the Southwestern archaeological landscape while hiking. Ristvet’s early interests led her to pursue an anthropology degree at Yale University from 1996 to 1999. Her […]