University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: James R. Mathieu

A Tree Falls in Philadelphia

Research Notes

By: James R. Mathieu

The plunging of a silver shovel into the dirt on April 14, 2000, marked the official groundbreaking for the construction of the Museum’s Mainwaring Wing. But the wielding of a bronze axe a month earlier marked an unofficial start of sorts. A line of gingko trees that stood in the way of the new wing […]


Time Travel, Trebuchets, and Atlatls: Playing with the Past Through Experimental Archaeology

Science and Archaeology

By: James R. Mathieu

Recently I had a chance to read Michael Crich­on’s Timeline, a book recommended to me because it combined my interests in archaeology and the medieval world with an adventure similar to the now-famous Jurassic Park. The book was indeed fun to read since it toyed with the concept of time travel and every archaeologist’s fanta­sy: […]


Is Your Mind Ready for Adventure?

From the Archives

By: Alex Pezzati and James R. Mathieu

“EXPEDITION—for the adventurous mind. If you’re puzzled about man’s fate, about his potential for greatness or failure in this sometimes frightening world he’s fashioned for himself…. If you’re curious about man’s development, the laws, religions, social institutions of which he is both slave and master…. If you’re intrigued by the continuing saga of mankind, in […]


From the Editor – Summer 2004

By: James R. Mathieu

This issue of Expedition marks a transition in more ways than one. First and foremost, we introduce our readers to Richard M. Leventhal, the new Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, who replaced Jeremy A. Sabloff on July 1, 2004. Second, we mark a changing of the guard in […]


From the Editor – Winter 2008

By: James R. Mathieu

Welcome to the 50th anniversary issue of Expedition—originally launched in the fall of 1958! This commemorative issue looks back on Expedition’s history, tracing its development from earlier periodical publications and showcasing the kaleidoscope of Expedition covers from the past five decades. Our feature articles this time around begin in the high desert of Egypt, where a […]


From the Editor – Summer 2008

By: James R. Mathieu

It’s here—the summer issue of Expedition—your triennial 48 pages of popularly accessible archaeological and anthropological scholarship! As usual, we present three peer-reviewed articles for your enlightenment. The first grabs our attention by focusing an anthropological lens on the controversial human passion for gambling— which side are you backing? Then, searching for rebirth, we turn to […]


From the Editor – Winter 2004

By: James R. Mathieu

The original impetus behind this special issue on Cultural Anthropology came from my predecessor as editor, Beebe Bahrami. As a cultural anthropologist herself, she encouraged the authors of the feature articles to submit manuscripts describing their research. From statistical analyses focused on Mongolian under­standings of democracy to ethnographic observations on child-rearing practices in West Africa, […]


From the Editor – Spring 2008

By: James R. Mathieu

Welcome to the first issue of Expedition’s 50th volume! Once again, we present three feature articles—two on historical archaeological research within the United States and one that anthropologically examines contemporary life in Cuba. The first article transports us to Montana to explore the rough beginnings of medical tourism about a hundred years ago in the […]


From the Editor – Summer 2007

By: James R. Mathieu

Anthropology is a very broad field, encompassing the subfields of archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. In this summer issue of Expedition we are pleased to present feature articles incorporating each of these sub-disciplines. We begin in Indonesian Borneo, where a cultural anthropologist explores the nature of families and their place in the […]


From the Editor – Spring 2007

By: James R. Mathieu

In this first issue of Expedition for 2007 we are excited to present feature articles highlighting a wide variety of archaeological research. These include a comparative study of material culture, observations derived from ethnoarchaeology, the implications of “authentic” archaeological reconstructions, and a report on excavation results. We begin in the Middle East, where archaeologists explore […]


From the Editor – Summer 2005

By: James R. Mathieu

Welcome to Expeditions summer issue! In the following pages you will read about the Museum’s role in the Centennial Potlatch—a celebration last autumn of Tlingit culture in Sitka, Alaska. We will also transport you to the highlands. On Lake Titicaca in the Andes, a Penn-led team of experimental archaeologists built and sailed a reed boat […]


From the Editor – Winter 2005

By: James R. Mathieu

This Winter’s Expedition is a special issue on Caves! Spanning the globe from Mesoamerica to Borneo and ranging in time from the Paleolithic in Europe to Australia’s modern Aboriginal peoples, six feature articles present recent archaeological and anthropological research undertaken in caves and rock shelters. We begin near the top of the Old World, in […]


Ec(k)s Mark the Spot?

Book News & Reviews

By: Greg Borgstede and Benjamin Porter and James R. Mathieu

The Olmecs: America’s First Civilization by Richard A. Diehl (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2005) 208 pp., 152 illus, 20 in color, paper $22.50 ISBN 0-500-28503-9 Reviewed by Greg Borgstede, a Research Associate in the Museum’s American Section. The Olmecs of the humid lowland Mexican Gulf Coast were one of the earliest civilizations in Mesoamerica. […]


From the Editor – Winter 2006

By: James R. Mathieu

Welcome to expedition’s final issue for 2006! Once again, we offer an eclectic range of articles presenting anthropological and archaeological research from around the world. We begin with two cultural anthropological studies from recent graduates of Penn’s Ph.D. program in Anthropology. The first, set in the South Pacific, discusses the continuing importance of drinking kava […]


From the Editor – Spring 2006

By: James R. Mathieu

Welcome to the first issue of Expedition for 2006! We are pleased to present an eclectic issue covering a wide range of topics, from the anthropology of movies, high fashion, and tourism to the archaeology of prehistoric stone use and the origins of agriculture. Our feature articles begin on the big screen, where movies are […]


From the Editor – Summer 2006

By: James R. Mathieu

Welcome to Expedition’s special issue on Egyptology! Here’s a detailed look at the Museum’s involvement in the archaeology of ancient Egypt’s Late Middle Kingdom. Our nine feature articles will introduce you to the site of South Abydos, from its first discovery at the turn of the last century to the Museum’s recent archaeological work there […]


From the Editor – Spring 2005

By: James R. Mathieu

Welcome to another issue of Expedition. In the following pages you will read about the western highlands of Guatemala and the north coast of Peru, where recent archaeological work conducted by Penn-trained anthropologists is casting light on little-known regions in both the Maya and Andean worlds. We will also take you to Europe to explore […]