University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: Richard Hodges

Fifty Years On

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

Fifty years ago, when Expedition was launched in 1958, globalization was a dream as the world enjoyed an era of almost unparalleled harmony led by a trio of leaders installed in 1953. Dwight D. Eisenhower was in his second term as President, serenely basking in popular acclaim. Nikita Khruschev, the leader of the Soviet Union, […]


Giving to the Museum

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

Philanthropic giving is at the heart of modern American museums—it exists on a scale that makes a European blush with envy. My tenure at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology began last autumn with a singularly important act of philanthropy — Michael J. Kowalski, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Overseers and CEO […]


My First Encounter with Philadelphia

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

Philadelphia and the Penn Museum have long held a special place in my heart. In 1980, renowned British archaeologist Colin Renfrew organized a special plenary session at the American Anthropological Association meetings in Philadelphia. I was one of eighteen young British (and Danish) university lecturers who formed part of his entourage. Our instructions were precise—we were each […]


King Midas and Rodney Young

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

When Rodney Young opted to excavate at Gordion in modern Turkey, he must have hoped he would have the Midas touch, making discoveries that stretched and teased the imagination. Whether the great Phrygian tomb he excavated was indeed the tomb of Midas is a matter of debate. What is not is that this ancient city […]


Decoding Butrint’s Fortifications

Excavations and Surveys, 2005-2009

By: Richard Hodges and Nevila Molla

The painter Edward Lear, visiting Butrint in 1857, was evidently fascinated by its powerful fortifications. Unlike previous visitors, drawn here by the description of the ancient city in Virgil’s Aeneid, Lear’s pictorial legacy shows that it was Butrint’s defenses that made it visually arresting. Now, in the seventy years since the Italian Archaeological Mission unearthed […]


Nikita Khrushchev’s Visit to Butrint

May 1959

By: Richard Hodges

Enver Hoxha’s post-war communist regime in Albania had close ties with Stalin’s Soviet Union. Even young Albanian archaeologists were trained in Moscow. But with Stalin’s death, Hoxha suspected the Soviet leadership of betraying the ideals of Leninism. In May 1959, in an effort to heal the growing rift between the superpower and its Mediterranean ally, […]


Creating a Sustainable Butrint

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

Archaeologists make places. Butrint was largely unknown when Luigi Maria Ugolini set out, in 1928, to discover if it really was a city founded by Trojan exiles. Ugolini’s excavations became theoretically accessible when the nationalist dictator, Enver Hoxha, had a road built to the site on the occasion of Nikita Khrushchev’s visit 50 years ago. Butrint only became […]


Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle, 15 July 1941–16 January 2010

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

The recent deaths of Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle and William R. Coe have robbed the Museum of two of its most distinguished archaeologists. A portrait of Bill Coe, the legendary excavator of Tikal, follows in these pages. But Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle commands less attention in the United States, unlike in Britain, where her passing was mourned at a […]


Off the Beaten Path in England and Spain

Book News & Reviews

By: Richard Hodges

The Isle of Thanet from Prehistory to the Norman Conquest by Gerald Moody (Stroud: Tempus, 2008). 188 pp., 103 illus., cloth, £17.99, ISBN 978-0-752-44689-9. Every part of southern England has a rich and almost continuous archaeological history, from the Upper Palaeolithic era onward. The little-known Isle of Thanet, southeast of London—a peninsula projecting north-eastward off the […]


Introducing Penn Undergraduates to Archaeology

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

Penn Museum has launched a new expedition. Explicitly for undergraduates of the University, it is a summer school based in Montalcino, southern Tuscany. Our research design is very straightforward: we are investigating two sites associated with a 7th century monastery in the picturesque Val d’Asso, a UNESCO World Heritage landscape since 2004. But the archaeology in […]


Extraordinary Discoveries along the Silk Road

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

Looking back over the last half-century as archaeology has become more scientific, there have been paradoxically few truly great discoveries. The wonders of archaeology, so it seems, were found by Schliemann at Mycenae and Troy, by Carter with his discovery of Tutankhamun, by Bingham when he ventured high into the Andes to Machu Picchu, and […]


In Search of San Pietro d’Asso

By: Stefano Campana and Michelle Hobart and Richard Hodges

The Via Cassia was one of the main arteries connecting Rome to its northwest provinces. It crossed the rolling hills of Tuscany, passing by way of Siena, before veering towards the river Arno and then northwards. With the transformation of Rome into a holy city in medieval times, the Cassia became the Via Francigena (the […]


Penn Museum and Afghanistan

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

Penn Museum has long had a part in revealing Afghan archaeological history. In 1953, at Director Froelich Rainey’s instigation, Rodney Young, Curator of the Mediterranean Section and Director of the Gordion excavations, conducted excavations at the ancient city of Bactra, modern-day Balkh. Young was drawn to the site because the great city on the Oxus […]


Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

Penn museum has been changing, gallery by gallery. The old Museum presented glorious objects in an often dry and uninspiring idiom. Ironically, for a museum which 40 years ago pioneered the importance of provenance for antiquities on the market, the Museum’s own exhibitions often provided limited context for the wonderful materials on display. Like countless […]


Penn Museum and Italy

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

The archaeology of Italy, the bel paese or beautiful country, has long held a deep attraction for archaeologists and members of the Penn Museum. As early as 1895 the Museum engaged Arthur L. Frothingham, Secretary of the American School of Classical Studies in Rome (forerunner of the American Academy), to excavate the spectacular Etruscan warrior tombs […]


The Wonders of Copan at the Penn Museum

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

On my visit to Copan last summer to attend a meeting dedicated to the Penn Museum’s MAYA 2012: Lords of Time exhibition, I fell in love with this place and the country. Copan is Honduras’s spiritual capital—a blissful place with magnificent monuments set in a glorious tropical valley, maintained to standards that are truly world […]


The Museum in a “Flat” World

From the Director

By: Richard Hodges

The financial crises across the globe during the past year have under- lined what a small world we live in. Indeed, it is a “flat” one, as Thomas L. Friedman has recently described in The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (2005). All parts of the globe are interconnected in ways unimaginable […]


From the Director – Spring 2009

A New Position To Help Define A New Age

By: Richard Hodges

The dramatic global economic crisis could have a major impact on the public’s perception and value of the Penn Museum. First, as households rein in their budgets, it seems likely that they will spend their leisure dollars on traditional local amenities.We hope such spending will translate into higher visitor numbers for institutions like ours. Second, […]


Rodney Young, his noblesse oblige, and the OSS in Greece

By: Richard Hodges

Classical Spies: America n Archaeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece by Susan Heuck Allen (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012). 448 pp., 17 photographs, 2 maps, hardcover, $40.00, ISBN 978-0-472-11769-7 Archaeologists have long played a part in clandestine wartime adventures. Doubtless during the 1930s, the fellows of the American School of […]


The Forty Saints Reconsidered

By: Richard Hodges and John Mitchell

Spectacularly situated above the Straits of Corfu in southern Albania, this large, complex church was built in Late Antiquity- probably in the age of the Emperor Justinian (AD 527– 565)—and remained a shrine until Communist times. A new survey reveals the changing architecture of the great church, its crypts, and painted decoration. Metropolitan in scale, […]