University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: Samuel Noah Kramer

The Biblical “Song of Songs” and the Sumerian Love Songs

Photo of mosaic

By: Samuel Noah Kramer

The Biblical book commonly known as Solomon’s “Song of Songs” or “Canticles,” is like no other book in the Old Testament. Unlike the other Biblical writings, it is not concerned with the history of the Hebrew people, and contains no revealing prophesies or inspiring preachments; in fact it seems to be nothing more than a […]


Expedition News – Fall 1963

By: Froelich Rainey and Rodney S. Young and Samuel Noah Kramer and William R. Coe

South Asia The Museum’s Director, Dr. Rainey, and Professor W. Norman Brown, Chairman of the South Asia Regional Studies Department of the University of Pennsylvania, announce the opening of a new program devoted to the archaeology of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Afghanistan). Dr. George F. Dales has received the joint appointment as Assistant Curator […]


The Indus Civilization and Dilmun, the Sumerian Paradise Land

By: Samuel Noah Kramer

One of the most significant and impressive archaeological achievements of the twentieth century centers around the discovery of the ancient Indus civilization which probably flourished from about 2500 to 1500 B.C., and extended over a vast territory from the present Pakistan-Iran border to the foot of the Himalayas and to the Gulf of Cambay. Much […]


A Sumerian Document with Microscopic Cunieform

By: Samuel Noah Kramer

The Department of Oriental Antiquities in the Louvre in Paris is the fortunate possessor of the remains of a Sumerian document inscribed with more than thirty-five hundred years ago with what are by all odds the most minute cuneiform characters yet known. In the course of the past hundred years or so tens of thousands […]


Ephraim Avigdor Speiser

By: Samuel Noah Kramer

On June 15, 1965, Ephraim Avigdor Speiser, creative scholar, inspiring teacher, gifted writer, died in his Elkins Park home in Philadelphia. For over forty years he was connected in one way or another with the University of Pennsylvania, and for close to twenty years he was chairman of its Department of Oriental Studies. His scholarly contributions are […]


Reflections on the Mesopotamian Flood

The Cuneiform Data New and Old

By: Samuel Noah Kramer

Historiography, the writing of history, was hardly a favorite subject of the ancient Mesopotamian academicians and men of letters. Lacking the essential intellectual tools of definition and generalization, and immobilized by a sterile, static view of man and his past, they became at best archivists and chroniclers rather than interpreters and expositors of historical truths. […]


The Ur Excavations and Sumerian Literature

By: Samuel Noah Kramer

Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Ur have been justly acclaimed for their extraordinary, unexpected, and invaluable archaeological discoveries: the royal ceme­tery, the Ur-Nammu ziggurat, and the innumerable artifacts of diverse types and categories, including thousands of cuneiform tablets and fragments from virtually all periods of Mesopotamian history from the third millennium on. Among these are more […]