University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: Gregory L. Possehl

The Chronology of Gabarbands and Palas of Western South Asia

By: Gregory L. Possehl

By far the greater parts of Pakistan and western India are semi-arid climatic zones. Mean annual precipitation for virtually all of Pakistan is less than 20 inches per year and falls below five inches in the central part of the Indus Valley. Precipitation values in­crease slightly to the east where the effects of the southwest […]


Cambay Beadmaking

An Ancient Craft in Modern India

By: Gregory L. Possehl

Cambay is a small city, population about 50,000, on the coast of Gujarat state in western India. This name is an English corruption of Khambhat. It is a center for lapidary craftsmanship, its products reach­ing a market on four continents. The largest of these lapidary undertakings is bead-making, the focus of this paper. The beadmaking […]


The Curators Write

The Museum's Ban Chiang Project

By: Gregory L. Possehl

It is my privilege, after the untimely death just over a year ago of my friend and colleague Chet Gorman, to write the fore­word for this special edition of Expedition devoted to the site of Ban Chiang in Thailand. Chet and I arrived at the Museum the same year, 1973, as Assistant Curators in what […]


W. Norman Brown – Americans Excavating in British India

w. norman brown
Research Notes

By: Gregory L. Possehl

A scholar with many interests, including the archaeology of the Indian subcontinent, University of Pennsylvania Professor W. Norman Brown (1892–1975) was one of the great institution builders for the study of India’s past. On September 6, 1922, R. V. D. Magoffin of the Archaeological Institute of America wrote to Brown to appoint him their representative […]


The Middle Asian Interaction Sphere

Research Notes

By: Gregory L. Possehl

In the early 1920s Sir John Marshall’s investigations of the ancient cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa (now located in Pakistan) resulted in the discovery of the Indus civilization (2500–1900 BC). This was an astounding event for the Indian subcontinent, effectively pushing the history of ancient India back to the 3rd millennium BC, long before the arrival […]


Shu-ilishu’s Cylinder Seal

What in the World

By: Gregory L. Possehl

Some Years Ago, while perusing the great Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim’s Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization, I found a reference to the personal cylin­der seal of a translator of the Meluhhan language. His name was Shu-ilishu and he lived in Mesopotamia during the Late Akkadian period (ca. 2020 BC, according to the new, […]


Ernest J. H. Mackay and the Penn Museum

Research Notes

By: Gregory L. Possehl

In 2008, I published an article in Expedition on Penn’s first professor of Sanskrit, W. Norman Brown (1892–1975), and his engagement with the archaeology of ancient India. Brown was an institution builder and had founded the School of Indic and Iranian Studies. He wanted to establish an American School of Archaeology in British India, formed along […]