University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: Victor H. Mair

The Case of the Wayward Oracle Bone

By: Victor H. Mair

Late last summer (2000), when I returned to my office from a research trip to China, a message was waiting for me on my voice mail. It was from my colleague Erle Leichty, Clark Research Professor of Assyriology and Curator of Akkadian Languages and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. “Victor,” the message began, “this is […]


The Mummies of East Central Asia

By: Victor H. Mair

In 1988, while visiting the Ürümqi Museum in China, I came upon an exhibition which changed the course of my professional life. At the time, my academic career focused on the philological study of manuscripts from caves at Dunhuang, a site where the Silk Road splits, proceeding to the north and south. But after I […]


Ancient Mummies of the Tarim Basin

Photo of mummy
Discovering Early Inhabitants of Eastern Central Asia

By: Victor H. Mair

The mummies of Eastern Central Asia (hereafter ECA) first entered my consciousness in the summer of 1988. I had heard about them in the 1970s, but until I came face to face with them, I did not have a sense of their enormous importance for the study of Eurasian prehistory and history. I had been […]